Posted by: Aimee McCracken

I first became involved with the Smiley Monroe team at the ‘Big Market’ for Young Enterprise NI at St George’s Market in Belfast. I attended the market along with my own Young Enterprise company which was formed with the aim of increasing sustainability in our everyday lives by replacing throw-away plastic straws with reusable metal alternatives. Our vision clearly aligned with Smiley Monroe’s own commitments to sustainability within the workplace and the company’s environmentally-focused attitude captured my attention.

The marketing team approached our stall to enquire about the product to which I gave a quick overview and explained our own aims. The whole team was immediately very friendly and while in conversation with the team, I happened to mention that I had an interest in exploring the possibility of a career in marketing to which Aimee responded by inviting me to join the team for some work experience. I massively appreciated the offer as I had already spent time searching for somewhere to carry out a placement, so to be able to do so in a company where I had been invited and felt very welcome prior to the placement was an offer I was more than happy to take up.

I began my placement with a blank slate in regard to my knowledge of marketing and what was involved with the job. However, this quickly changed as I began working with Aimee and Georgia who allowed me to become involved with genuine, everyday work that the marketing team takes on. I focused on internal marketing for the company and during my time in the department I was given the opportunity to gain hands on experience with a range of projects. This included designing and creating a number of graphics to display the First Aid and Mental Health First Aid teams for various locations within the company, a poster highlighting the company’s 2019 charity partner – Aware NI and a wall graphic encouraging environmental awareness and workplace safety.

During my time within Smiley Monroe I gained invaluable experience for a future career in marketing such as how to use programmes essential to the department’s work. I spent time designing an array of ‘mock-up’ graphics on Canva which I then recreated professionally using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. I came to the department with the hopes of finding a prospective career which would put my creative interests as an art and design student into a practical outlet and I found exactly that. Smiley Monroe has allowed me to find the clarity that if I decide to follow the route towards a career in marketing, I know that I will be well suited to the role!

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