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Seven weeks at PDMS

Insight Published on 18 December 2020

Article by Alanna Ashley


About the scheme

I first saw the Isle of Man Department of Enterprise advertise their internship scheme in the summer of 2020. I decided that there was no harm in applying for the scheme, as I knew that I wanted to enter the world of work rather than attend university and figured that a placement within a well-established company would be the perfect way to gain the key skills and fundamentals for my first full-time job.

Being placed at PDMS and my work there

I worked with the SignedUp Skills team who had just launched ten websites across different regions of the North of England. Each website acted as a one-stop-shop for vacancies, apprenticeships, and courses. The websites came at a very crucial time as the north had seen (at the time) the most devastating impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting the regions economically and taking a big toll on mental health. This highlights why it is essential to get those who are able to work back into employment. 

My main responsibility was to increase the reach of SignedUp Skills Twitter and drive traffic to each of the region's websites. Every day, I identified different opportunities e.g. a job and tweeted about it to help maximise the exposure. Every tweet included a link to the opportunity, a bespoke image plus tagging relevant pages and using relevant hashtags. To help grow the SignedUp Twitter page, I researched accounts that should be followed including Local Enterprise Partnerships, councils, MPs, radio stations, news outlets and recruitment agencies.

Some of the programmes I used to help support my social media activities were Canva and Hootsuite. I used Canva to create custom designs for each tweet and Hootsuite to schedule each tweet in advance. I was able to see how each tweet performed, what worked well and what I could improve next time. I'm very proud that I increased the number of followers by 94.5%, saw a peak of 2,000% engagement and tweet impressions for a month reach just short of 30,000. I found this very insightful as I had no experience of working with analytics before.

I discovered that I enjoyed research tasks and writing up my findings. As I was in the 'target demographic' I was asked to review each of the regional websites and make recommendations for any improvements. I also wrote my own articles on current events relevant to PDMS such as ‘why covid-19 has increased the use of Facebook’ and ‘the effect of covid-19 on the north. ’ 

Finally, I was also given the opportunity to help with a live event hosted by PDMS with 25+ guests at the Barclays Eagle Lab in Douglas titled ‘Digital accessibility – how do we make the web more inclusive?’ This allowed me to get first-hand insight into all the planning required for such an occasion and what goes on during an event and afterwards. I was a key point of contact for all delegates before the event and after the event; this allowed me to network and communicate with people with seniority levels in outside organisations. 

My final thoughts

Reflecting back now, I am so glad that I took the time to apply and to be placed with PDMS as my placement has taught me so much. I have gained so many transferable skills including Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Umbraco CMS in addition to overall office etiquette and how to manage my own time.

Before joining PDMS, I was worried about talking to people I hadn’t met before but from using Teams for virtual meetings to attending face to face meetings with my colleagues in the Isle of Man, everyone at PDMS has shown me nothing but kindness - from offering to make me hot drinks and inviting me on nights out. I feel 10 times more confident than before thanks to them - I think this is the thing that I will value the most of all. However, I couldn’t have achieved everything that I set out to without the time and patience shown to me by my mentor Hannah Francis who I am incredibly grateful to for taking the time to work with me alongside her busy schedule.