Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 25th July 2023
A high-flyer looking to take on the world has told how a placement at the Tees Valley Combined Authority has helped on his path towards a promising career.
Zakar Hussain, 22, spent a year at the Combined Authority fine-tuning his skills in business intelligence while learning about the world of work.
The popular Acklam student has now come away from his Business Management course at Teesside University with a First Class Degree – and explained how his time at the TVCA helped him realise his ambitions.
Zakar said: “My role was Business Intelligence and Systems Coordinator.
“It involved working with both business and IT aspects, focusing on data analysis and process mapping to improve the efficiency of different departments within the organisation.
“Thankfully, while I was here, I had the opportunity to talk to different professionals from different fields, and these conversations really helped me grow both personally and professionally.
“My manager made it clear when I first arrived how the year was not simply about me working but about tailoring it to what I wanted and making sure it fits my academic and personal development.
“I spoke to a lot of the directors who were really welcoming.”
After working across departments and keeping IT systems running, Zakar picked up transferrable abilities which were ideal for his degree.
He added: “I came away as a different person. You’ve actually got a year’s worth of experience under your belt, so when you return to final year, you get that recognition from the University and can relay that to the first and second year students.
“In terms of the skills you need to secure long-term employment after graduation, I’ve gained a lot of them during my time here. Of course, there are the basics like time management, but I’ve also had the chance to develop many other key skills specific to my field.
“It’s been an absolutely fantastic experience that I’ll always cherish.”
Zakar also revealed he now has a number of employment prospects following his placement and first-class degree.
Zakar said: “I’ve been quite fortunate as organisations have approached me directly. With employers, they’re looking for someone with a degree, but they also want someone with experience.
“They want the whole package and I’m privileged to some extent that a lot of companies have come to me. But I’ve done some work and I’m in the running for various roles from an investment banker role to supply chain and logistics.”
The Combined Authority has recently finished recruiting for a fresh crop of paid interns this summer.
Successful applicants will be paid the Real Living Wage of £10.90 per hour for their time with roles in Culture and Tourism, Communications and Marketing, Net Zero, Transport, Business and Skills and Human Resources.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Zakar is another great case of a talented young man who has stayed local and is going far.
“He was an asset to us in his time here and I’m delighted he’s used those skills to pick up a thoroughly well-deserved first-class degree. We have a very good relationship with Teesside University and the talent they are fostering.
“Zakar has a promising future ahead and his case goes to show what a massive difference a work placement can make at a young age – whether it be with us or one of our amazing employers across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”
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