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Lucy Whitehead: My Experience in the Grad Scheme at TFD

I graduated from UAL with a fashion marketing degree and whilst I loved my studies, I wasn’t sure which industry I was drawn to the most. I began to look into various grad schemes as an opportunity to get fully immersed in a business, get hands-on experience and learn the ins and outs of PR and comms. While on the surface B2B tech may seem like a world away from a job in fashion, I’ve seen so many connections and opportunities to use my existing marketing knowledge and experience to support my role at TFD.

When searching for graduate scheme opportunities, my priorities were fairly clear - I wanted a company that would allow me to work on exciting projects and interesting clients, provide important training, and enhance my industry knowledge and professional development.

I started on the scheme in November and from early on, I was given real responsibilities on client accounts, of course in a first job this can be initially daunting, but with great mentorship and support I wasn’t given tasks I couldn’t complete and felt supported constantly. I had the opportunity to attend and contribute to client calls, help with media outreach, and play a role in global, full-scale marketing campaigns. This immersive approach quickly allowed me to apply the marketing skills I had from my degree whilst constantly learning PR specific techniques and tasks of which I hadn’t had any specific experience.

I’m lucky enough to work on Yazen, an account we won not long after I had started. This meant I was involved with the client from the first stages and was able to experience the process of onboarding a new client. I attended the initial in-person meetings and brainstorms with them where we aligned their brand messaging, built important personal relationships and started their launch into a new market. This was a unique experience where I built my confidence and could prove my abilities in a unique situation.

One thing I benefited from early on was the regular training we were given to ensure we understood the important elements of PR such as comms 101, how to identify relevant publications and build a media list, writing pitches and how to contact relevant journalists. It was also helpful learning how we can leverage Artificial Intelligence in our roles to speed up small tasks while ensuring we don’t lose the human element of PR that is so important!

Despite having no previous experience in areas like media outreach and press release writing, I was able to quickly build my skills and confidence. I also drew from skills I’d developed throughout my degree and previous work experience. An agency environment is fast-paced, which presents its own challenges but we were given individual sheets with monthly KPI targets, this meant we could see what we should be achieving and when as well as what was to come. This meant we could see where we needed to put more focus or what areas we could begin to research to stay ahead.

But naturally, an entry level role is more than just professional development and people are such an important part of work. TFD’s culture and workplace environment was extremely welcoming, we were each paired up with another employee as a ‘buddy’ and have weekly coffees booked in to catch up. It’s a casual way to discuss any problems or concerns, ask questions and get a feel for the company culture and how things work! The whole team is really sociable, we have regular company meetings, have the opportunity to explore local Brixton food and drink spots, and the Christmas dinner was a highlight where we had an incredible dinner upstairs in the Department Store Dome. One thing I love doing is the free weekly yoga classes in the office.

As I look towards the future, I'm confident the skills and experiences gained through the grad scheme and beyond will be invaluable to my future career in PR and marketing. TFD actively encourages attending events, networking opportunities and talks or webinars that may help improve industry knowledge - for example, today I’m attending an introduction to broadcast event where I'll be able to see the process of a broadcast PR campaign and meet other professionals in similar roles.

If you're a soon-to-be graduate searching for a structured scheme that will give you a great introduction to the world of PR, challenge you with important responsibilities, and provide top-notch training, I cannot recommend applying for the TFD graduate scheme enough. It is the ideal first step for any budding PR and marketing professionals.

The TFD Graduate Scheme 2024 is now open, please see more information in Join Us

Lucy Whitehead

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