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The power of mentoring helps Benjamin get to business

Monday 16 March 2020

Final year Business and Enterprise Management student Benjamin Summerfield has found mentoring to be crucial in giving him the confidence and skills he needed to secure an exciting placement at Jaguar Land Rover, that he might not have been able to get otherwise.

Benjamin, originally from Milton Keynes, chose Hallam because of its high ranking for his course, high employment rate and the opportunity to do a placement year. Alongside his course, he works around 20 hours a week as a banking assistant at Virgin Money Group.

“I like to be busy,” he says, “I can’t just sit down and watch TV, I always have to be doing something!”

But even Benjamin described his placement year at Jaguar Land Rover as “intense”. After submitting his application, he took online tests, a phone interview and finally a face-to-face interview and assessment day, before he was accepted for the position of Product Portfolio Analyst.

His work involved data-driven analysis on the Jaguar F-TYPE, Range Rover Velar and the new Jaguar XC - which is likely to be on the market in five to seven years time.

“The placement was amazing, but also very intense. I had to work to extreme deadlines. Data was fed into me and it was my job to collate it and come up with the best solutions - it was a lot of responsibility and involved making decisions which, if wrong, could cost the company millions,” he said.

Along with his course and his experience working at Virgin Money Group, the placement at Jaguar Land Rover has helped Benjamin with his search for a graduate role in business or procurement management.

But this might not have been possible if he hadn’t been connected with his mentor, Tim Slater, CEO of the international express mail service, DHL Supply Chain, who has supported him throughout his journey.

Tim did an accountancy course at Hallam, and now his son even attends the University. He has helped Benjamin to develop skills and gain the crucial confidence that helped him secure the Jaguar Land Rover placement, simply by believing in him and giving him the opportunity to shadow colleagues in the different departments that make up DHL Supply Chain.

Benjamin said: “I saw an advert for mentoring at the employability centre, did some deeper research, and found Tim. I went to meet him at the Normanton Head Office for DHL Supply Chain.

“He’s given me access to different departments at DHL that I would never have had the chance to see otherwise, but the main thing he gave me was confidence. For someone in his position to believe in me and encourage me to ‘go for it’ has been a massive confidence boost.”

If Benjamin’s story has inspired you and you would like to share your knowledge and experience to help today’s students, as well as develop yourself personally and professionally, join our digital platform the Hallam Collective.

The Hallam Collective is an online global network of Hallam alumni who are connecting with each other, offering up career advice and mentoring to new graduates and current students.  It is also a platform with capabilities to build greater advocacy and support and encourage wellbeing through a shared connection to Hallam.

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