Recent Graduate, Nita Morina, was taken under the wing of an industry mentor during her final year at university. Now she’s working at Wembley Stadium and credits the University of Northampton and locally based business, Ricoh UK, in helping her land her dream job.
For Nita, who was studying Events Management, the prospect of organising her third-year event – which is equivalent to a dissertation – as well as other academic commitments and thinking about applying for her first job after graduation was dauting. Nita turned to the University for support and Claire Leer, Senior Lecturer in Events Management and Tourism spotted the opportunity to connect Nita with graduate, James Knox, as part of the University’s Mentoring service.
James, who is the Community Investment Manager at Ricoh UK, said: “Originally, I studied Geography and IT at the University of Northampton, I then went on to have a varied professional career; first as a serving police officer, before moving into industry, working for household names.
“I’ve got a broad skill set and I’ve always been keen to use my skills to help others. I’ve been an active mentor for a number of years, last year I decided that working with a student at my former University would be a great way to give back. Having been a final year student myself, I knew I would be able to relate how students would be feeling, thinking about career aspirations, whilst being under the pressure of assignments and exams!”
Talking about her motivations for taking part in mentoring, Nita said: “When I heard about the mentoring opportunities, I was really keen to get involved. I thought it would also be a great opportunity to connect with and learn from someone already in industry, as well as get an idea about what my future career might be like.
“Having James as a mentor has been such a great influence for me, I cannot think of another individual that has had such a profound influence on my career aspirations. Throughout my final year James was part of my journey; I picked his brains as I was working through assignments and he shared tricks of the trade with me, which I used to make my final year event a success.
“James helped me to believe in myself, but importantly, he believed in me too, he was great at encouraging me to stay motivated, helping me to achieve more. At the end of each mentoring session, I felt encouraged and reassured, and always had a clear plan of action to keep me focused and achieve what I wanted.”
Nita is now responsible for the behind the scenes events planning that goes into corporate events for global business Delaware North at Wembley Stadium. She credits her course and work with James for helping her land the job: “Working with James helped me to see a fresh and professional perspective on my studies, and take what I was learning to the next level. When it came to job hunting, James pushed me to keep focused on tweaking my CV for each role I was applying for, and tracking applications and interviews, and staying motivated where I wasn’t successful with my applications.
“I would really recommend getting involved in a Mentoring Scheme to other students, having that extra support and professional view is invaluable to help you when you’re working on your degree. Now, I’m three weeks into my new role and loving it. I’m putting everything I learnt at University and from James into practice with this job.”
A mentoring relationship is beneficial for both the mentee and the mentor, talking about the bond he formed with Nita, James said: “Nita was really enthusiastic and proactive in working with me, something that is vital to making the most out of the mentoring relationship, and a career in the Events industry. Not only did I help Nita to believe in herself, I gained a great deal from working with her too. I’m very proud of the way she’s developed and grown in confidence since we started working with each other.”