Student placement – A week with Expro’s Marcomms team

4th August 2014

Day 1 – Monday 7 July
During my summer holidays, I decided that getting some work experience for a week would be very useful for my future and would help if I wanted to apply for a part-time job. Fortunately, my dad works at Expro and was able to secure a week placement in the Marketing and Communications (Marcomms) department working on a visual communication project. The project aims to create two infographics clearly demonstrating the contribution that both IT and Supply Chain provide to the business.

I was quite nervous about having a job for a week and doing some real life work for a large business but immediately the MarComms team made me feel very comfortable and welcomed in their department. After being showed around the office, I started researching external infographics to get an idea of what they looked like and what features of an infographic would appeal to our target audience. I picked out certain features, such as the use of statistics and presenting concise information, and decided we should include these in the final infographic.
Next, I attended a safety induction where I was informed about all the important safety rules at Expro including the ‘House Rules’ I would need to follow. I also learned about Expro’s presence in Aberdeen including that the company has 11 buildings in Dyce.

After my induction I went back to work in the office and started creating some draft questions for Andy Tong, Head of IT Operations and Ian Sutherland, Global Logistics Manager in Supply Chain. The answers to these questions should help me understand the two group functions better and enable me to create a more useful infographic at the end of the week.

Day 2 – Tuesday 8 July
Today I was a lot less nervous when coming into work in the morning. I was excited about carrying on with my research project. The project really interests me as it doesn’t only teach me how to create and design an infographic but it helps me gain experience researching and finding out about different parts of the organisation.

I got underway today by presenting a set of my draft questions to Vic, Snr Events & Marketing coordinator and Sarah, Snr Communications coordinator. We then improved the questions in order to gain more specific information to create more informative infographics. After polishing up the questions, I composed emails to send to Ian and Andy so they understood who I was and what I would be asking them. I enjoyed this process as it highlighted the importance of preparation and punctuality, as the questions needed to be sent to a deadline so I could complete my work before the end of the week.

After the emails were sent, I sat down with George, 3D Designer, to plan each infographic for the different group functions. This discussion was very useful as he had many ideas on how we could make it both informative and visually pleasing. After this conversation I felt confident in being able to complete the two infographics within time and both being useful to inform Expro employees on what each function does.

Day 3 – Wednesday 9 July
Today was the day where I had to compose my first formal interview – as it wasn’t something I had done before I was quite nervous! I was also looking forward to see the different departments and buildings that Expro had.

I started my interview with Andy at 10am allowing me to spend the hour before examining and learning the questions. I got a lot of useful information from the interview and it enabled me to create a very informative infographic that the IT department could use to show the company more about what they did.

After the interview, I returned back to work as I needed to write up all my notes and extract key information. I then used this information to think about how I could possibly represent the information using graphics.

My next interview was with Ian. This interview was in a different building than I had been previously working, so the trip allowed me to see different Expro facilities. I learned a lot about how Group Supply Chain runs and it was interesting to see the part they play in the company. I was very intrigued to hear how disciplined on safety Supply Chain and the whole of Expro are. I thought it was impressive as it shows they really care about all their employees and don’t want them to suffer any injuries.

Ian went into a lot of detail about all the different functions of Supply Chain and provided me with a set of excellent information. I really appreciated both Ian and Andy giving their time to tell me more about their departments. Other than interview skills, I learned a lot today about the running of both IT and Supply Chains, and how they contribute to Expro’s overall strategy and success.

Day 4 – Thursday 10 July
Today is an important day in planning for the infographic – we will discuss the design and icons to be used. George brought in one of his information graphic books so I could look at concepts which may appeal and work for our particular infographic. This allowed me to generate some good ideas and visualise what our infographic could possibly look like.

During my research Ria, Snr Marketing Co-ordinator, told me about her role at Expro. I was intrigued to see how many different tasks her job consisted of and how versatile she needed to be to complete different requests from many different departments. She also showed me some examples of work she had previously done for Expro and they were all very impressive.

Afterwards, I carried on researching in George’s book and figuring out new ways to improve the infographic. When I had decided how best to make the infographic effective, I sat down with George and Steph, Marcomms Assistant, to discuss what was possible in terms of design and if we needed any extra information to improve the infographic. This discussion helped me a lot as they both had different ways that we could improve the infographic but reassured me that my initial ideas were excellent. This made me feel like my research and interviews had paid off as now I could contribute to the infographic and the overall design of it. I quickly composed an email to send to Andy to obtain the extra information we needed and then I was done. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Day 5 – Friday 11 July
Today was my last day as a placement student at Expro. This week has really helped me as I have learned a great deal about different departments within the company and their functions.

I started by finalising ideas for the IT infographic. George started creating it using Adobe Creative Suite. The programmes looked very complicated to use but nevertheless George got underway and began what looked to be a very impressive design.

For lunch, the team ordered pizza as it was my last day. This was a really nice gesture especially as I already had enough to thank the team for over the week. As we all sat down around the table informally, I got to know the team better personally.

After lunch, George and I reviewed how the IT infographic was coming along. He also showed me how to use a design tablet which was very interesting but tricky! As I’m not the best artist I couldn’t really draw anything, but instead I helped by adding figures and shapes. By doing this I felt like I had helped create the design which felt satisfying as it made me feel valued as part of the team and Expro.

Overall, I really enjoyed my placement at Expro and would be eager to do it again. Everyone at Expro was so friendly and helpful. My week has given me food for thought about my own career and future working full-time.

Clark Geddes