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October 24, 2023

My placement year at P+S

Luke Barton
Account Manager
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What does a placement year at P+S look like?

Hi I’m Luke and I am a Client Services intern at Proctor + Stevenson. I was in my second year of University studying Geography BA (Hons) at Durham when we were given the opportunity to apply for our placement year.

I knew it was something I wanted to do, because it was a great chance to develop myself professionally, learn something new and may be even secure myself a job afterwards.

I’m now over halfway through my placement year and I’ve developed some strong relationships with co-workers, as well as clients. I’ve had the opportunity to manage and lead projects from start to finish and I’m pleased to say I’ve secured a job with P+S once I finish my third year, if I wish to return.

What drew me to P+S?

I had a meeting with a careers placement advisor at Durham University, who suggested Proctors as a suitable company to apply for. I did some research into the company and knew that it was the right place for me.

The P+S website had lots of information on the clients we work for and work culture, along with interesting blog posts. This meant I could thoroughly prepare for the interview, as securing a placement year can be very competitive. It also meant I knew what to expect when I started my internship.

Where I am now

So far, I’ve been given lots of responsibility to manage various types of projects. From short videos to full website and branding tasks.

A couple of months in, I was thrown in at the deep end – which is exactly what I wanted – having to manage various video projects with tight deadlines while my manager, Sam, was on leave for a few days. I was apprehensive at first, knowing little about the technical aspects of video production, but as the projects progressed, I quickly became more confident managing them.

These two weeks were rewarding as I could take full ownership of projects. I knew that if they weren’t delivered on time and to a good standard, even though I had support from Mark Jamieson, one of the Directors, and Phil Robinson, Creative Director, it would ultimately be down to me. This motivated me to put in overtime, when necessary, especially when working with clients across time zones, so being flexible to make it work made everyone’s lives easier.

My professional development

So far, I’ve worked mostly with Saudi Arabia-based clients, including the various arms of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) (particularly on recent branding projects), and Impact BBDO, among others. Learning about a different work culture has been interesting and working alongside organisations like the IsDB, who are doing incredible charitable work all over the world is really fulfilling.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work alongside a new client – The Runnymede Trust – a UK anti-racism organisation. I’ve enjoyed working with the design team to develop their new brand. I also learnt about front-end website design in Webflow so that I could communicate project status to the client effectively.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn about the broad array of services that Proctors offers, from graphic design and copywriting to front-end website design and marketing strategy – both online and off. This, along with the variety of clients that Proctors works alongside, makes the job interesting and means that no one day is the same.

During my time at P+S, I’ve developed a variety of skills. I’m now much less apprehensive to ask questions, even if they seem trivial.

It’s been a steep learning curve, and simple things such as understanding what the different members of the team do, how they do it and how it all comes together, are much easier quickly described by one of the team, rather than figured out down the line.

I’m much more confident in creating and maintaining client relationships, too. And I have a greater understanding of many different aspects of marketing.

My goal for the next half of the placement is to take on challenging conversations more readily with clients, such as those about budget status and chasing for payment of invoices. I also look forward to a potential trip to Saudi Arabia in March, where I can meet some of the people I’ve worked alongside over the past seven months.

From Luke’s manager:

This is the first time we’ve had a placement year student, so we weren’t quite sure how it would all play out. Having done a placement year myself, I knew that the best way to make it count was to treat Luke as though he was one of the team, getting him working on and contributing to real projects as soon as possible.

Luke got stuck in straight away with some video projects for IsDB’s annual meeting. It was a big audience, with heads of state, heads of banks, royalty and many more globally influential participants in attendance, and a very important and stressed client to please. The Prime Minister of Uzbekistan even weighed in with some feedback.

From then on, Luke has been a huge asset to the team, and we’re really disappointed we have to lose him at the end of the year. But, we’re hoping this great start means the programme will go from strength-to-strength, and we can continue to build our offering for placement year students, giving them a really strong start to their careers.

If a placement year is something you are contemplating and you would like to gain experience within a full-service marketing agency, contact us at

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