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Home » Your Future Career » What universities can do to support students and help prepare them for future careers

Tarek Ahmed

Marketing Executive, Klowt

Careers and placements teams within universities can play a pivotal role in creating forward-looking workplace opportunities for students.

Finding the right placement during a degree course can be a critical step in helping shape career options for students once they leave university. An important element within that, however, is having the right support and guidance within the university setting.

Competitive world 

Tarek Ahmed, 21, is currently on a placement year with London-based Personal Branding Agency, Klowt, working on in-house marketing as well as client-facing work, editing videos and overlooking copyright and content material. 

Having completed two years of his degree in history and international relations at the University of Reading, he will work with the company until September before returning for his final year. 

While the placement year is optional, Ahmed believes it has significant benefits. “The post-grad world is competitive. Having that year in the industry and being able to put that on my CV can make me stand out more,” he says. 

“It is also a brilliant networking opportunity and a great way to figure out how you work and whether you enjoy working in a corporate environment.” 

I would not have gotten the
placement without that support.

Career aspirations 

Ahmed initially joined a different company for his placement, but he realised his career focus was more on TV and presenting. During lockdown, he launched a podcast; and it was while interviewing the founder of Klowt that the current placement opportunity arose. 

There are a wide range of placements available, and your choice of degree subject doesn’t have to limit the types of roles or placements you apply for. The university encouraged the change of placement as the opportunity fit his career aspirations. “This placement gives me a chance to work on videos and gets me in front of cameras, and that will help me in the presenter space and learn the skills I believe will help me become a presenter one day,” says Ahmed.

Invaluable support 

He pointed to the invaluable support from Reading’s Careers and Placements team. A placement coordinator is available to give advice on CVs, covering letters, applications and where to find placements; and the team sends out regular emails with the latest internship and placement opportunities. 

“I would not have gotten the placement without that support,” adds Ahmed. Moreover, there are careers events, mentors and a unit dedicated to finding jobs for students on campus that are flexible around assignments and study priorities. 

Ahmed also completed the RED (Reading Experience and Development Award) to enhance his skills while working part-time, alongside his studies. 

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