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I began my placement year in July 2019, as a Marketing Assistant at Ashfield Healthcare Communications; the role is perfect because of its relevance to my degree at Sheffield Hallam University: Business and Marketing. My working day is often, interesting and full of opportunity to learn, the most recent being a the new experience of working remotely.

Before the UK was placed into lockdown due to COVID-19, I relocated to the Manchester office after working in the Macclesfield office for over 6 months. Although it was short-lived, this move allowed me to see more of my family, due to a smaller commute and to train at the gym during my lunch which was a 3 minute walk away. However ,not much has changed over the last few weeks – now I see my family every day! They have now become my new ‘office team’ and I have resorted to home workouts!

My days vary, with tasks including; designing and posting social posts, creating internal communications, communicating with overseas and LOTS of spreadsheets! Some days can be more exciting than others for example in January I was given the opportunity to attend my first ever corporate event – The ISMPP EU 2020 Meeting. This was great fun and really insightful. I was able to expand my event management skills, network and see both key speakers; David McCandles and Amelia Kallman whose speeches were definitely food for thought. After the event, I helped to co-author the book: 9 things we heard at ISMPP EU 2020. Travelling to London wasn’t the only opportunity for some time out of the office. I occasionally travelled to Ashfield’s Head Office in Ashby De la Zouch, Leicestershire, to visit the Divisional and UDG Healthcare Marketing team. Now that travelling isn’t possible, I meet with the team more regularly on Zoom.

Since COVID-19 my workload has not decreased, in fact, Ashfield  has placed more trust in me and given me more responsibility to complete tasks  that will help other employees through these unprecedented times. This includes being a member of the UDG Healthcare Wellbeing team, helping to create our internal website aimed to aid the health physical and mental of all UDG employees. I also help to create the internal global newsletter that is sent to more than 7000 employees in three languages! I thoroughly enjoy my placement, and though it will soon come to an end, I am sure there will still be learnings for me to take into my future career, and final year at university.

The topic of COVID-19 is often spoken of in a negative way and the change it has brought.  However, I am grateful that the impact of COVID-19 has given me the opportunity to work from home so early in my career, and have time with my family that will most likely never reoccur. I hope that when COVID-19 passes, the nation doesn’t forget how capable they were… capable to work from home, exercise at home, balance family life, eat healthy and stay in touch with family and friends, all with the fear of COVID-19 above them – imagine what the nation would be capable of, without that fear.

Zoe Higham.

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