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Placements Spotlight: Yi An Chen x Mappin Technologies

A portrait of a man in a white shirt.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date23 June 2021
A portrait of a man in a white shirt.
Image credit: Yi An Chen.

Work placements can help students to grow their skills, build their networks and gain vital experience for their future careers. At London College of Communication (LCC), our Placements Team provides expert support around searching, applying and securing approval for opportunities across the creative industries and beyond.

Many students decide to gain industry insight with major companies and brands that are well-established in particular sectors, while others choose to make an impact with smaller start-ups and SMEs. Some even decide to expand their understanding of the global landscape by exploring international roles. Regardless of the size, scope or scale of a placement, all options offer useful ways to enhance your professional practice while building tangible skills in areas such as research, networking, application processes and interviews.

BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts student Yi An Chen recently secured a placement as a part-time Digital Content Designer with Mappin Technologies, a company which focuses on developing the future of smart buildings. Blending technology with physical spaces, they aim to grow the value of real estate while creating unimagined visitor journeys.

We caught up with Yi An to discuss how undertaking a placement during his studies has enabled him to boost his employability skills and experience.

Two examples of purple infographics created by Yi An around Covid and energy costs.
Infographics created by Yi An Chen for Mappin Technologies.

What was your journey towards finding your placement?

I was trying to find a part-time job on every possible job-search website that would be applicable to any future career I might be interested in, and that could help me earn some money on the side of studying.

It was quite difficult finding a position given that I’m an international student with a Tier 4 student visa, which means that my work hours are limited to 20 hours per week during term-time. So, in the hopes of getting a role, I tried my best to apply to as many as I could.

What were the highlights of your placement experience?

Generally, I particularly enjoy undertaking work experience because it helps me understand first-hand how I can play a part in a work environment, and subsequently gauge what I prefer in a job.

Working with a start-up company run by university graduates like Mappin Technologies meant that I was working alongside people who were around the same age as I am, and who also gave me more agency in terms of suggesting ideas and solutions.

I really felt that I was in a collaborative team with a fixed goal, and everyone had a part to play in creating an outcome.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from your role at Mappin Technologies?

Coming from Singapore, I took this work placement as a chance to experience for myself what it’s like to work in London.

Although it was just one role that was also completely online, it helped me to distinguish how different work cultures could be between the 2 countries, and what I could expect in a job if I were to work in London in the future.

What advice would you give to other students who are considering a work placement?

If I had any advice, I’d say that you’ll only know what you prefer once you’ve tried something. Personally, I find that I learn a lot better when I’m working on the ground, learning as I go with real outcomes. I think there are lessons that could only be taught when experienced in a job, and so work placements help with that!

If you’re a current LCC student and you’d like further information on how placements can support you to build your skills and experience, contact our Placements Manager, Mandip Takhar: placements@lcc.arts.ac.uk

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