I was really excited to see that the my Master’s programme at Manchester offered the chance to work on placement and have it count as a 15 or 30 credit course. Gaining work experience and getting school credit for it; I jumped at the chance. I am an American studying abroad at University of Manchester’s Humanitarianism and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) an am getting my Master’s degree in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response. Being new to the city and country, I thought this placement course would be a terrific opportunity to get to know the city and British culture a bit better. I had already studied abroad for six months at the University of York during my Undergraduate Degree, so technically I am not brand new to the U.K. The placement course is offered by University of Manchester’s School of Arts, Language and Culture (SALC) the school that HCRI is a part of. I thought I would clarify, because at first I thought it was only people on my Master’s Degree doing the placement course. The fact that the SALC is in charge of the placement course gives the students a variety of options when it comes to choosing your placement, allowing you to experience new things you would not get from your other courses. There is no need to worry about getting a placement because SALC does the work for you. Depending on your major you get a list of placements, you choose the three you are most interested in. Then SALC works its magic and you get one of your three choices; that’s how easy the placement process is. Now comes the time for you to put in the work and make the most of your placement experience.
I was placed working with the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum, or GMRF. The title of my placement role was ‘Identification of vulnerable people’. To be honest, I had not heard of GMRF before this placement course, but that’s part of the adventure. I had done a little research on the organisation before I choose it has one of my top three picks. It made my top three because of the work GMRF does. I was very interested when I learned they help the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester coordinate and plan responses to emergencies. I had never worked at an organisation like that and knew I would experience something completely new while I worked there. My role was to update/create a new guidance that helped members of the GMRF identify vulnerable people during emergency situations. I mainly reviewed and read different documents, debrief reports and other cities’ guidance on identifying vulnerable people. I was a bit nervous my first day. It did not help that GMRF’s offices were located at the Greater Manchester Police Headquarters. I had to get signed in and escorted to their offices; something I got used to surprisingly quickly. Although I met there roughly once a week for a few months, the majority of work I did on my own in my flat. By the end of my placement I realised I had developed my research, communication and interpersonal skills, invaluable lessons and skills I will use throughout my lifetime. I highly recommend this unique opportunity SALC offers its Graduate students.