"In my placement, I have built on the analytical skills that I have learnt in my degree so far, as well as leadership and teamwork"

A photo of Nicola Brant smiling in a cafe
Nicola Brant
Undergraduate student
Mathematics with Placement Year BSc
Nicola took part in the University of Sheffield's Degree with Employment Experience scheme, spending a year of her course working for the Department for Work and Pensions as an Operational Researcher.

In September, after my second year at university, I started a year-long placement at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as an Operational Researcher. Operational Researchers apply mathematical, statistical and computational techniques to real world problems, to inform decision-making.

I didn’t consider that a placement could be right for me, until two colleagues came to present at one of our careers lectures and the role just really appealed to me, so I had to apply! When I started the placement, there was a lot of opportunity to travel to London and other government hubs in the north, to network with other students and also seniors such as the DWP Head of Operational Research and Lead Analyst.


In my placement, I have built on the analytical skills that I have learnt in my degree so far.

Nicola Brant

BSc Mathematics with a Placement Year


I have enjoyed lots of opportunity for professional development - such as learning new programming languages, like SAS - as well as formally presenting current projects to colleagues and stakeholders.

In my placement, I have built on the analytical skills that I have learnt in my degree so far, as well as leadership and teamwork skills that I picked up whilst on committee for the walking club. Skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication and problem-solving have been key in my daily role here at DWP.

I am now a lot more aware of what I am looking for in my future career, whether I apply back for this position or explore another opportunity.

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