Two communications graduates from Queen Margaret University (QMU), Musselburgh, are celebrating after they each secured a 12-month graduate internship with East Lothian Council in Haddington.
Rachel Dixon (23) from Dunbar in East Lothian, graduated from QMU in 2014 with a BA (Hons) Marketing & Management. Fiona Dawson (23) from Dunfermline, graduated from QMU in 2015 with a BA (Hons) Public Relations & Marketing.
Both graduates made successful applications to the new graduate internship scheme, which is fully funded by East Lothian Council.
Rachel and Fiona were keen to find paid work experience in the local area which would allow them to build on the knowledge and skills they had acquired whilst studying at QMU. The new scheme offered by East Lothian Council has meant that they are now getting a valuable insight into their chosen career.
East Lothian Council is committed to addressing graduate unemployment or underemployment. The Council provides a vast number of services to the local community which means it is possible to offer a number of quality paid graduate opportunities.
Rachel is now a Graduate Marketing Assistant and is working across the Economic Development and Strategic Investment service, focusing on the Invest in East Lothian offer, East Lothian Works (the Council’s employability service) and general tourism initiatives. So far, Rachel has been developing her creative marketing skills, including print production, social media management and press release writing.
Commenting on her experience with East Lothian Council so far, Rachel said: “I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to work across the two different departments and be exposed to so many aspects of the Council. I’m now working on various exciting projects which ensure that each day is different.
“Right from the start we were offered training and coaching opportunities and I’ve already attended a number of seminars and exhibitions. I feel that these events have vastly improved my communication skills and enhanced my knowledge and personal development in the short time I’ve been working with the Council.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at QMU. The Marketing and Management course opened my eyes to different job opportunities and was a great stepping stone to starting my career. I can’t thank the lecturers and staff at QMU enough for the support given to me throughout my time there.”
Fiona is an Assistant Communications and Community Engagement Officer, working within the Corporate Policy and Improvement department. Her role involves engaging with local community groups, project coordination and website design and editing. Fiona has also been working with partners on a project to improve broadband connectivity in rural and remote areas of East Lothian.
Fiona said: “I work with a wide range of people on a variety of different projects. I’m gaining valuable experience not only in communications and community planning, but also in web design and project management.
“I’m now leading my own projects, developing my press relations and writing skills, helping to plan and run public engagement activities and creating and managing social media and E-news channels. No two days are the same.
“I can’t praise my lecturers at QMU enough. It’s inspiring to be taught by people at the forefront of their fields and the support I received, particularly in my final year, made a definite impact on my career path now.”
Paolo Vestri, Service Manager for Corporate Policy & Improvement, said, “Fiona has provided energy, new ideas and enthusiasm to our team. She has an appetite to learn and take on new responsibilities, which will help develop her skills and knowledge, as well as to increase the team’s capacity to take on new work.”
East Lothian Council is actively promoting Investors in Young People, and Fiona and Rachel have both become ‘Investors in Young People’ Champions. In this role, they are undertaking a health check on the status of East Lothian Council’s investment in young people from an employer’s perspective. The role involves facilitating a series of interviews and focus groups with young people aged 16-24 and employed by the council to find out their views and help guide any areas for development.
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