Claudia Schiavo graduated from the Network75 Scheme at the University of South Wales in July 2017 with an upper second class (2.1) BA (Hons) degree in Marketing. Claudia is now employed as a Marketing Executive with her Network75 Host Company Barratt Developments PLC in Tongwynlais.
"I was first introduced to Network75 at St David’s College in Cardiff where Louise Hawker was a guest speaker. After Louise’s presentation, I was intrigued to find out more about the scheme and the opportunity it gave to pursue Higher Education. I applied for the scheme and had an interview with Network75 at the University of South Wales. I was successful in progressing past this stage, which then led to Network75 arranging interviews for me with different host companies interested in developing a Marketing Trainee. I was invited to an interview with Barratt Developments PLC in Cardiff with Richard Lawson, Sales Director where I was successful in gaining a Network75 placement. I began my career with Barratt Developments PLC on 9 0ctober 2012”.
“My time at Barratt Developments was a brand new experience for me; I had no marketing experience when I first started. Whist on placement at the company and attending university I built up my confidence and was able to adapt to different situations. During my time working within the Marketing team, I have won an Individual Excellence Award for Managing the Marketing team in 2014 and also a Quarterly Team Excellence Award in 2017. At the National Marketing Conference 2017, South Wales won Regional Finalist for Most Efficient Team and we were the winners of the Most Improved Efficiency Award. Through Network75 I was able to combine both university learning as well as gaining 5 years’ worth of work experience within the Sales and Marketing department of a 5 Star national house builder. The scheme gives you the best of both worlds to obtain a degree and gain work experience, setting you up to be in the ideal position to gain employment upon graduating. I was offered the opportunity to continue my career with Barratt Developments PLC as a full time Marketing Executive; I accepted the role and I began full time employment in May 2017 before I’d graduated.
The Network 75 scheme is hard, you are limited with time on assignments, presentations, and exams as well as having a number of responsibilities within the company and balancing time for work, studying, and having a social life. However, it has been the best experience of my life and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I wasn’t 100% set on just going to university – I wanted more. From the age of 16, I have always had a strong work ethic and the willingness to learn and develop, therefore the Network75 scheme was perfect for me. Although 5 years is a long time, I know that I am in a much better position than other graduates. The majority will have student debt in excess of £30,000, minimal or no relevant work experience throughout their university course, and they may have not found employment upon graduating. Thanks to the Network75 scheme I have a degree, 5 years of work experience, no student debt and was offered full time employment with my host company to continue my career. I will always be so grateful to Network75, the University of South Wales, and Barratt Developments PLC for this life changing opportunity”.
Barratt Development PLC also provided a Testimonial from Marketing Manager Lewis Allwood who was Claudia’s Mentor during her time on the Network75 Scheme;
“The Network 75 scheme is a great tool for businesses in the local area looking to nurture an employee early on in their career. The scheme is mutually beneficial with students benefiting from hands on learning, industry experience and a degree that is fully funded, all at a reduced labour cost to the business. We have seen Claudia grow over the last 5 years in to the professional she is today, becoming a vital member of the team and we have benefitted greatly having her on the work force from an early stage in her career. She has learned how to work in a fast paced, dynamic environment and has excelled in the latter years of the scheme. We are now reaping the rewards, having been able to offer her a full time role and add her to the workforce permanently which was a moment we were very proud of. The Scheme has allowed us to contribute to Claudia’s learning and development and in return Claudia has contributed a great amount to our success over the last 5 years”.