Róise: My Week in Cromarty
Our graduate Róise Nic an Bheatha has returned from completing her young Scot Grad residential. Read all about it:
I began working at SPEY just over three months ago and what a whirlwind of learning and excitement it has been! To provide a brief background, I applied for a year long graduate placement through the ‘Scot Grad Scheme’. This scheme provides growing businesses in the Highlands and Islands support to employ graduates in the workplace. SPEY advertised the role of a Media Associate and - to cut a long story short - I now find myself working and living in beautiful Aberlour.
As part of the grad scheme, you attend a 4-day residential course in Cromarty. During this week you meet other graduates on the scheme, learn pitching skills and general business tools you can take back to the workplace. Being a non-business graduate I was excited at the prospect of learning new skills and keen for a road trip north along the Moray Firth coast.
I arrived in Cromarty around mid-day and was greeted with a luxurious lunch. The other grad applicants were introduced and they all seemed lovely and keen to make this week as fun as possible. The afternoon session began with an ‘insights workshop’ which responded to a questionnaire we had submitted previously regarding our work preferences, how we interact with colleagues, and what our work vision is. The workshop then provided a detailed -and brutally honest- breakdown of our personalities, working traits, and how to improve our work ethic. The workshop was indeed insightful and I discovered a lot about my approach to work. It also acted as a great ice-breaker and all the graduates continued bonding that evening over a pint in the local pub.
Wednesday’s session focused entirely on our individual company’s vision and forced us to ask pressing questions about the structure of our own companies and our role within them. I enjoyed hearing about other graduates’ placements and the things they found successful/struggled with. This session encouraged me to evaluate my own skills and to consider how I can really contribute to SPEY’s success. In the afternoon we drafted business plans for each other’s businesses. SPEY is a relatively young company, so comparing it to businesses that have been around for years was really interesting.
Fear struck my heart when we were informed that at the end of the week there was to be a competition. This involved pitching your placement to a panel of judges from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. I felt highly unprepared, but my fear momentarily subsided when I discovered the local pub had a fiddle! We spent that evening discussing the imminent competition whilst simultaneously having a grand old session.
Coincidentally, the next morning was all about pitching. This involved techniques of negotiation, influencing, compromising, and persuasion. We participated in many activities, but I really enjoyed sales pitching where we had to pitch our company to a potential client in hope of gaining their custom. It was incredibly challenging but I enjoyed the roleplay. That afternoon we were given time to work on our presentations for the fast-approaching competition and I was praying that my newfound pitching skills would come in useful. That evening I persuaded some of the graduates to come wild swimming in the Cromarty sea. It was freezing but absolutely fabulous, giving me a fresh head for the following day.
Presentation day arrived but the busy week and all my ‘networking’ meant I felt very unprepared. However, the residential had been a great experience so I hoped my passion would shine through. My lovely manager Emma hiked to Cromarty in support and I was grateful for her attendance. We all pitched our businesses and after hearing about the other graduate placements, I did feel extremely lucky that I had ended up at SPEY. I love working for the company and I know this year is going to be fantastic! To round the whole week off, I ended up winning the competition and bagged a lovely certificate and amazon voucher in the process.
Onwards & upwards,
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