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Tia is a 2nd year undergraduate Creative Writing student from York St John University, home on the Island for summer. She has been successfully matched with a project for the Visit Isle of Man agency and is almost three weeks into her placement. Here’s what she had to say about her experience so far.


Match

Visit Isle of Man
 

Overall Project Aim

To enhance the activity of the Visit Isle of Man website for both Visitor and Trade.
 


How did you hear about the STEP Programme?

My dad - someone at work had mentioned it to him in passing and we have heard of family friends who have undertaken it in the past and have enjoyed it.
 

Why did you apply?

To keep busy over the summer, as well as gain some paid work experience. The opportunity to take part in an awards presentation and compete against other STEP students was also a big influence in my decision.
 

What was your biggest worry?

Working in an office environment all day and meeting new people.
 

How have you overcome this?

Taking regular breaks. Organised my time wisely and tried not to overwork myself. Making an effort to talk to people has also helped me improve my social skills.
 

What has been the best bit about your STEP experience so far?

I’ve enjoyed every minute of my work, but I do like the habit of getting into a daily routine - it makes me feel so organised and ready to tackle the day! I also love the writing element to my project and being able to apply the Creative Writing skills I’ve learnt at university during my degree so far. It’s nice to transfer these qualities, as its good preparation for future employment after I graduate.
 

What skills does your job entail?

Organisation, communication, creativity, originality and enthusiasm. Writing requires a lot of perseverance and imagination!
 

Where do your current thoughts lie with tourism on the Isle of Man?

The Isle of Man is one of the most stunning islands in the British Isles. It has so much to offer in terms of landscape, wildlife, history, culture and community spirit making it unique to most places. Many people don’t really know about it - I’ve found that out after going to university and Camp America. Tourism at the moment is good from what I’ve seen but I believe it could be even better. There is so much potential for the Island and I want to spend my time in the role assisting the Visit Isle of Man team to fulfil as much of it as possible.
 

What new ideas are you bringing to the table?

  • Re-designing the website layout and navigation system - tidying up the look will make it more appealing and attractive. Giving it a modern upgrade is always bound to have a difference. I have some great ideas around renaming the headings and colour scheme. We want to capture visitor's attention straight away!
  • Improving the word content - by reducing and re-writing the webpage content, visitors are more likely to be engaged and retain the information given.
  • Expanding the #IOMstory brandthe main Tourism campaign is the perfect feature to project onto the website. By incorporating this throughout, the Isle of Man Tourism's brand and overall effect will be strengthened. My aim is to activate this through language style and use. Tone is everything when it comes to writing.
  • Individual promotional videosI learnt that many other tourism websites feature videos as part of their marketing campaign. The #IOMstory brand offers the perfect opportunity to develop this idea. My main plan is to re-caption the #IOMstory at a more personable level, through the new slogan/captions #MyIOMstory which would be shown as videos. The videos would capture the stories of visitors and workers on the Island, whose tale will link to the updated headings, strengthening visitor communication and association. This way it brings the brand to life, embellishing the extraordinary story concept in the main TV advert. It also adds a sense of originality and flare, making the Isle of Man website stand out from its competitors. My plan of action is to write the scripts for these videos for the Department to have and follow through in the future.
     

Have you faced any challenges?

Apart from getting up at half-six every morning, not really!  The style of blog writing was a bit difficult to fall into, but after writing 20 blogs so far I’ve finally found my feet. The Tynwald Day Blog - '5 Reasons to love Tynwald Day' was tough to write, as I didn't really know a lot about it. I’ve never written many blogs before, but I always like to challenge myself when it comes to writing. As a writer, receiving constructive criticism on your work is always hard to get your head around, and it’s something I am getting re-used to after completing my second year.
 

The best bit about working in Isle of Man Tourism is . . . 

The company - my work colleagues (everyone is so nice and friendly). Also, being able to promote the Isle of Man and make a difference.
 

Top three things you like about the STEP Programme

  • The experience it gives
  • The work it provides
  • The opportunity of paid work experience
     

Would you do it again if you had the chance?

Definitely!
 

Would you recommend it to 2nd year undergraduate students?

Absolutely! This is a great paid work-based opportunity for any student, and doesn’t necessarily have to use your degree - any skill or experience you have is applicable.
 

What advice would you give to upcoming STEP students?

  • Go into it with an open, levelled mind and keep your options open - if you’re uncomfortable with your placement, speak up to one of the STEP Co-Ordinators and let your voice be heard - it’s your experience at the end of the day and if it’s not right for you, find somewhere that is.
  • Ride it out - the first week or two is always going to be hard, especially when you’re settling into a new workplace, with new people. I found it daunting and difficult the first few days of my placement, especially when everyone knows my dad who also works in the same place but different department. I felt overshadowed by him at first, but this disappeared after a couple of days, once I found my place.
  • Be yourself, but try to be professional at the same time - think about timing, your physical appearance and interaction with work colleagues. Remember that you’re working in a professional environment and need to leave a good impression. Your placement could be the groundwork for a full time job - don’t waste this opportunity all for the sake of a poor wardrobe or timekeeper. Remember what you’re here for. You made the decision to carry out this internship, so be prepared to put in the work. The outcome will always be a good one.
  • Don't be disappointed if you don't win at the Awards - it's the experience you've gained throughout this project that is the real prize!
     

Describe your journey so far in one word

Eye-opening
 

Follow Tia on Twitter @TiaWelshIOM

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