One Year with Perago

5 min read Written by: Sunmi Babalola

My placement year at Perago is nearly coming to an end. It’s been a fantastic year, meeting lots of different people and working on lots of different projects, so I decided to do some reflection on what I’ve been up to.

At the beginning of my placement, I had made some objectives that I wanted to achieve throughout the year. These were to produce independent work of good quality in a work environment; to improve my presenting skills; to be more efficient with my time and to be able to add different communication and writing styles to my portfolio.

My time at Perago has presented me with many opportunities to complete these objectives.

Produce independent work of good quality

One of the first pieces of independent work I was given was a brief on finding a potential new office space for the company and reporting this research back to the team. This particular task, although fun to research, was actually a bit difficult as it was hard to find a space that was safe to meet up or that made sense to acquire with the uncertainties of the future in terms of lockdown restrictions at the time. In the end, we decided to hold off on buying a new office space until the future was a bit clearer and that it made sense financially. I enjoyed doing this task as it involved individual research, so I was able to improve my organisational skills, research skills and communication skills.

The company was involved in setting up the Centre for Digital Public Services Wales. In order to understand the work we’d be doing, I did some research on some of the terminology used in the public service environment. I did some further reading from the service manual and was able to learn about the importance of agile ways of working and user-stories as well as understanding terms such as discovery, alpha, beta and live. Doing this research has really helped me throughout the course of the year and it’s been great seeing the research and reading I had done at the beginning actively being used in projects.

Improve presenting skills

Earlier in the year, the team was involved in a joint pitch presentation for a new piece of work. This involved sitting in front of a virtual panel and giving a group pitch, of which I was able to participate. It was very insightful to be part of this type of group pitch as it was great to see how everyone was able to adapt and still run a fantastic panel that would’ve normally taken place face to face. My involvement in this pitch also helped me in achieving my objective of good presenting skills as it added variety in terms of the sort of presenting I had to do and observe.

As a company, we’ve used platforms like Microsoft Teams to stay connected and continue to work together virtually. During the year we started doing fortnightly show and tells with the entire team including our associates which I think has been fantastic as it gives everyone a chance to showcase what they’ve up to, any interesting things they’d like to share or to get feedback from the group. Within these show and tells, I’ve had a chance to present to the rest of the group. In particular, I was in a group presentation giving an update of the re-vamp of the company website. I’ve also done a session on my involvement with DigiLeaders Wales as well as a session on the new Apprentice advert (more about that below!)

Digital Leaders Week consisted of various organisations holding events discussing and promoting anything digital through the Digital Leaders platform. I liaised with the HQ team along with Wales Co-op in order to make sure there was enough promotion to Welsh companies as well as working behind the scenes to ensure smooth sailing through the Digital Leaders platform. I helped facilitate the week by working with the team twice a week until the end of the DigiLeaders Week. I also took part in a session on digital talent along with three of my colleagues by telling my story of being a placement student and what I had learnt working in this space. I really enjoyed being in this session and being able to reflect upon my own experiences at Perago. I think the layout of the session being a facilitated conversation helped the session to flow easily and brought out great thoughts and ideas from everyone. I was really glad to be a part of this event and it definitely improved my presenting skills especially for such a large-scale event.

Efficient with time

During the year, I was given a lot of responsibility for my position in the Centre for Digital Public Services. I helped set up its website, managed changes to the website and kept both the website and blog updated regularly. This consisted of tasks such as keeping up to date with blog posts and website changes, making sure there were Welsh translations available for both, proofreading and publishing them, as well as becoming a WordPress connoisseur! Overseeing this has definitely allowed me to more efficient and has put my organisation skills to use. This has helped me achieve my objective of timekeeping, as I had to form a structure and stick to it in order to make sure everything was published according to plan.

As a Comms team, we met twice a week to discuss everything that was being posted, whether on the website or on social media, and we also discussed any future plans for the Centre. In order to help with timekeeping and organisation, we used TeamUp to form a group calendar which documents any and all of our upcoming events, plans with the website, plans with social media and plans with the blog as this helps to ensure all changes are done smoothly and effectively. I’ve really enjoyed working this way as using a platform like this has really helped me in my timekeeping skills, communication skills and independent work which are all skills I plan on using in the future.

Different communication and writing styles

I was involved in the project of the new Perago website, in which we used an online whiteboard platform called Mural to document how best to complete the project. This included what was best for our users needs, which design company to use, and what type of content we wanted on the website. Using Mural as a platform has been great for working as a group especially remotely as it makes communicating with others much more efficient as we are all working out in the open and can work together without having to be face to face.

Once we’d chosen a design company to work with, I also created a design brief for them to use. I researched and found a good template to use and filled out each section in a clear and concise manner to make sure our plans for the website were understood by the design company. The brief included identifying the project overview, project goals, design requirements and the target audience and I also included a potential site-map. Including a potential site-map was really helpful as it meant we could start thinking about what type of content we wanted on the new website. I had never written a design brief before so it was great doing one as it meant I added a new writing style to my portfolio!

Working with Perago

I’ve seen Perago grow so much as a company in just one year! They’ve taken in some amazing new recruits throughout the year, who have all inputted tremendously to the company.

I feel very lucky that I was able to complete my placement year with Perago. I’ve accomplished so many goals and achieved so much. They’ve been a pleasure to work with and have taken me in with open arms. They are indeed led by their values and have demonstrated that through the work they’ve done – always using the Perago Way!

I’ve really enjoyed the work I’ve done during my placement from user research and service design through to being a part of the comms team and doing some project management. All of these roles have transferable skills that I’ve used and have definitely improved on during this past year. I particularly enjoyed working in communications and project management due to my involvement with CDPS, DigiLeaders and the Perago website revamp.  I’m very grateful that I’ve been with Perago for my placement year and that I’ve been able to learn from their knowledge and expertise and I definitely hope to work with them again in the future.

I’m now going back to Swansea University to complete my final year of my degree and will certainly take what I’ve learnt through this experience to any group projects or independent work I’d be doing at uni.

We’re now recruiting a new apprentice to join the team. If you’re a person with an open mind and is ready to learn, and like the look of some of the work I’ve been doing this past year, take a look at our advert and apply here – they’re a pleasure to work with.