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Postgraduate placement turns permanent position for student Tade

Date 26.07.2021

International student, Tade Mustapha, impressed the bosses of a leading chemical manufacturing company, Scott Bader, where she went for a work placement, now she’s landed a job at the company.

Tade, an international Project Management student originally from Nigeria, opted to include a 12-month project management industrial placement within her studies, which allowed her to develop her academic knowledge and skills in a real-world environment. She said; “I knew I wanted to complete my postgraduate education in the UK, Northampton stood out for me because of the commitment to social responsibility – or Changemaking as we call it here. This very much supported my values, so Northampton was a natural choice.

Tade, who holds two degrees from a university in South Africa, credits the University for helping her to succeed in her placement year. Tade believes that the structure of the course helped her stand out from the crowd, she said: “The structure of the course blends the theory and practical experience. As part of the course, we regularly give individual and team presentations, this has built my confidence in public speaking, and team working.

“When working in project management, the skills you develop alongside academic knowledge are vital. Working with my fellow students was much like it is working in business – communicating clearly, motivating others, and putting the theory into practice.

“I liked that the Northampton project management programme included the opportunity for a placement year, this opportunity to immerse myself in British work culture alongside my studies was an important factor for me. I’ve lived, studied, and worked in Nigeria and South Africa, working alongside people in these countries has taught me so much, and exposed me to diverse cultural experiences.”

For Tade, her placement year fell in the height of the coronavirus pandemic, which tested her resilience. Tade credits the support of the Changemaker Hub team, with helping her hone her interviews skills, she said: “Ahead of the interview with Scott Bader, I worked with the Changemaker team to get some interview practice, this further built my confidence, which I needed as my interview panel included the CEO and Director of HR at Scott Bader. Which was pretty nerve-wracking at first.”

After excelling at her interview, Tade joined Scott Bader to project manage the creation of their inaugural 2020 Employee, Environment, Social & Governance (EESG) report, working alongside Scott Bader staff, and sector experts, including Associate Professor at the University of Northampton, Adrian Pryce DL.  Speaking about working in a pandemic, Tade said: “I’ve certainly developed my resilience over the last year. When my first placement fell through, I was worried about what that would mean for me. Thankfully, the opportunity with Scott Bader came up. It was a very strange experience, starting a placement in a pandemic. The majority of my onboarding, and work has been virtual, which was a bit tricky with a project management role, as I was getting to grips with the project, who they key people involved were, and understanding Scott Bader as a company. Everyone was very friendly and supported me to settle in, which was nice. On the days where I was working in the office, I quickly found that the kitchen was place to visit to catch a quick in person chat with my new colleagues.”

Kevin Matthews, CEO at Scott Bader Company said: “The project required a significant amount of hard work by Tade, across a multi-site, international business, to extract and pull together the information in a robust and clear way. Tade excelled in the role, acting with professionalism, poise, and persistence yet diplomacy that was noteworthy. It is fair to say that without the contributions of both Adrian and Tade we would not have reached the milestone of the first Scott Bader EESG report, which was successfully delivered on time and budget.”

Tade made such a good impression during her placement, that she has been offered a permanent position at Scott Bader.

Having embraced university life, Tade urges other students to be proactive while they study. She said: “You have to make the most of your time at Northampton, you’ve got so many opportunities to get involved in worthwhile experiences, from volunteering to placement opportunities. Don’t wait for these to come to you, go out and find them, immerse yourself in British culture, and enjoy it.”