Cocoa Black, Peebles
When Graduate Darroch Fisher joined an award-winning chocolatier in Peebles, his one-year placement involved him in some important steps forward for the company. He describes what happened.
What project were you involved with?
There were five projects. The first was the development and launch of an e-commerce website. Secondly, three months after the launch, we did some more comprehensive user acceptance testing in order to identify and resolve any outstanding post-live issues. Key business processes were mapped through business process analysis and any issues were identified and reported to the web developer to fix. The third project concerned devising and launching a social media strategy and community-building campaign for Cocoa Black. The next project was to develop and launch a range of chocolate bars for wholesale markets. Finally, working with Cocoa Black’s external accountant, a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) were developed, through which the company directors could monitor business performance.
How did your placement impact on you professionally?
I understand how much effort is needed within a small business in terms of finance and resources.
Having developed and launched an e-commerce website and social media channels, I realise how valuable the digital landscape can play in a small business as you are able to compete directly with bigger competitors. Further, it's integral to building revenue and brand reputation.
Working with the directors on a daily basis, I was often asked what my opinion is. I have learned how challenging business decisions can enhance a product, service or strategy.
Lastly, I have a better appreciation at management level, of the importance of KPI's and how these can be implemented to increase autonomy of individuals and drive revenue.
How about the personal impact?
Having worked at Cocoa Black, I have had the highest job satisfaction from any work experience. Perhaps this can be attributed to the small nature of the business and the reliance set upon me but also seeing the results of my work quicker as opposed to a larger company.
I feel that I am more confident as an individual and know what I want out my career, having been exposed to different projects.
How did you use your skills, knowledge and competencies from your time at university?
Being disciplined at university to seek internships and work experience outside of studies significantly built upon my practical business knowledge. Within university, I have transferred my organisational skills and thirst for knowledge.
Would you recommend the TalentScotland (now ScotGrad) Graduate Placement Programme to other graduates?
Certainly. The success of the programme ultimately comes down to the company you are working with and the experience you gain professionally and personally. I have had an excellent relationship with Cocoa Black and have developed more than I had envisaged. Even better, I am staying on with the company!