That’s the spirit: Tara’s Year in Industry at drinks giant Pernod Ricard

Tara Harrison is studying BSc International Business and is currently taking a placement year at Pernod Ricard in London as a HR Executive Intern. Here she reflects on a year working for the drinks brand.

‘One of the reasons I decided to take a university degree was to get onto a course which offered a year’s placement.  

That’s why BSc International Business with a Year in Industry at Kent stood out to me. It was a course that gave me a well-rounded knowledge of many business topics that allowed me to gain the experience I needed to stand out from the crowd.  

Towards the end of my first year, I noticed online an advertisement for interns at Pernod Ricard UK, a world leader in alcoholic spirits.  

With some CV writing skills built with the help of the Employability Team, I made it through to their assessment centre for a role in Customer Service but at the last minute, they encouraged me to go for HR, instead. I’d never thought of working in that field, but it felt like an opportunity, so I went for it. 

I started my role as HR Executive Intern in June 2022 and am grateful that I was offered the chance to see what HR is all about. It is fun, varied and fast paced!  

Being an intern, you are thrown straight into working life. I’ve learned how to use Workday, the HR software used globally, and I regularly interview for junior level roles and help build an offer.

Sometimes it can feel daunting, but the team here is supportive.  They always reassure me that being an intern is about making mistakes and learning from them. It has helped my confidence blossom. 

My proudest accolade is the reverse mentoring project I’ve pushed forward where directors are being mentored by employees with a focus on D&I focus areas such as LGBTQ+. I’ve also proposed the idea of doing this on a podcast and I’m now leading it and we start filming it soon! 

The office is just such a vibrant, fun place to be. I mean, it’s a drinks brand so we have our own bar!    

We do blind tasters, a social night every Thursday and there is a never-ending list of events, work trips to distilleries and awards dos you can attend and enjoy.  We even have our own espresso martini machine that can photoprint your face on a drink!  

Aside from the fun, I’ve grown so much professionally and personally. I know how to hold myself in business, how to deal with stakeholders and just to think like an employee. I think it’s also down to Pernod, as they’ve given me such a wealth of opportunity and experience during my time here. 

Despite the big change, I am looking forward to returning to life at university, particularly to apply everything I’ve learned in this role to my final year of study.’  

A placement year offers the opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience and apply university-gained knowledge in practice. Find out more.

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