Tomorrow (Friday) marks the end of my role as Internal Communications Assistant at a large insurance company on the Wirral, Merseyside.
This job was definitely up there with the best jobs I’ve had, if not the best. It’s said that the main reason people leave their job is because of their relationship with their line manager. I can gladly say that my line manager was the best I’ve ever had, and if I’m ever a manager in the future, I hope I’m half as good.
How did I get the job?
The post was advertised through my university emails as a part-time internal communications assistant. As soon as I saw the advert, I knew I needed to apply. The opportunity to work alongside my university studies all while gaining experience and earning some money for myself was an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often. I thought anyone on my course would be crazy not to apply.
The job was at a large insurance company on the Wirral. To me, the Wirral was like an entire different country. As I am a student at LJMU, I live in Liverpool city centre and even though I have resided in the city for two years, I had not yet ventured over the Mersey waters to the Wirral. Why it’s called ‘the’ Wirral I still don’t know, and why they say ‘on’ the Wirral, again, I am none the wiser.
I polished my CV, sent it off and was accepted for an interview. I knew how to get around Liverpool very well as I walked everywhere, but I hadn’t yet mastered the art of walking on water so had to plan my commute to the Wirral.
I looked up how I would get there and saw I would have to take the tube (this weirdly excited me a little too much) from Lime Street, to the first stop over the water, Hamilton Square. It would be a 7 minute train journey. That seemed reasonable. From Hamilton Square, it would then be a 2 minute walk to the office. Simple.
Once I got above ground and out into Birkenhead, I thought I really was in a different country as there was a signpost for Belfast and Dublin. Was the tube a time machine back to Ireland? Unfortunately not.
The interview was quite informal and at this point, I was still in the initial applying stage for placements, so this was my first ever job interview. I had went through many employability and careers classes with interview tips, knew all about how important the handshake, eye contact, posture, appearance, articulation and first impressions were to getting the job.
I had quite a good CV, with a lot of work experience and past jobs, knew how to carry out the role as I was studying PR and communications and felt very relaxed in the interview so was able to say everything that I wanted.
I was overwhelmed by the size of the building. I was expecting a small office like the insurance offices I had seen back home, but this was by no means small. I didn’t know one thing about insurance, but I was willing to learn and I wanted the job so I could experience internal communications. From this, I would be able to decide whether I wanted to go down this line of comms or stick with PR.
I loved my job. I learnt so much about employee engagement and how important it is in a company. It also made me think of places that I have worked in the past and how they could really do with internal communications to improve morale and encourage a better culture.
Even though I had to wake up at 6.30am when my days started at 9am (damn Merseyrail track renewal) and even though for a few months it took me over an hour to get to work when it used to take 9 minutes (Merseyrail bus replacements) I never dreaded having to go to work. I loved the place and the employees. If there’s one thing the company should pride itself on, it’s the people. Everyone’s so happy in their work and feel valued as they are so well looked after. It really is a Great Place to Work.
I will be leaving with a great portfolio to show future employers of what I achieved during my time here.
- I created two internal newsletters for over 300 employees
- Helped organise the biannual team day which took place in Liverpool ACC and World Museum
- Created an induction booklet for future new employees
- Wrote blog posts for the company website
- Issued press releases about the company’s charity work and 20th anniversary
- Collated information to write management blog posts for all managers and directors of the company on how they can improve and become better leaders
- Helped in the revising of the company’s cultures and values and worked on the process of rolling this out
- Worked with Hive software to send out an employee engagement survey
The last month
Since April 3rd I changed from working 1.5 days a week alongside my university classes, to working full-time, 9-5. I didn’t find the early mornings too hard and I will miss my half hour walk to James Street station (again, Merseyrail being an inconvenience) and my early morning tube journey (which takes 4 minutes, I kid you not). I will also miss the scenic view of Liverpool from the dockside of Birkenhead. It’s much better working over in the Wirral and having a view of the three graces, the Albert Docks, Echo Arena and the Wheel than being on the Liverpool side looking at Birkenhead – unless you wanted to watch the Stena Line depart for Belfast (the signpost mentioned earlier now made sense).
Thankfully the company are willing to have me back when I return to Liverpool for my final year! Hopefully by then the Merseyrail underground will be back up and running and my commute will be much more enjoyable.
I have had a splendid six months working in internal communications – staff nights out being a particular highlight, as was being introduced to Porn Star martinis.
Tomorrow, (my last day), my last journey from Birkenhead back to Liverpool will see me sail in style on the Ferry Across the Mersey.
Bon voyage and see you in 16 months Birkenhead!
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