POD Administrator - Marcus Paragpuri

POD Administrator, The University of Birmingham
BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2017

What does your role involve? How did you find it? 

As POD Administrator, I handle a large portion of the admin associated with the majority of the University of Birmingham's staff training and development courses. This includes getting people booked on to courses, following up with them, providing more information, and running evaluations. I am also responsible for being present on the day to support the course and provide materials and any other bits and pieces. I also work as front of house for the department, being first point of call for anyone entering the department. 

I found the role through the University’s website after a meeting with Careers Network. The adviser I met with helped me to figure out what sort of sector I was interested in and where to search to find those kinds of jobs. The Careers Network even helped me put together an application, which was incredibly helpful and put my mind at ease for when the interview came round. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I love the people, if I’m really honest. I’m sure this gets said about quite a few offices, but I do get to work with a wonderful team of people who all share a similar sense of humour and work ethic. We support each other and constantly communicate openly. I also get to meet people from almost every department in the University when they come to one of our courses, so it’s a great chance to build a network of contacts across the organisation, which I just wouldn’t get if I were working in a different department. 

What is most challenging? 

I used to be on the trainer/presenter side, which I definitely miss the most. I love engaging with people and helping them out with any challenges they might face, so greeting people and signing them in only to then head back to the office can be tough, but I know I’m never going back to an empty room. There’s always lots of new people to contact and meet with as part of my everyday duties, so it’s really just a different form of what I’m used to. Again, that’s challenging because it’s so similar and yet very different, but it’s a great challenge to tackle. 

How did your time at Birmingham help prepare you for this role? 

I studied Drama and Theatre Arts and was involved with a lot of improv at UoB, which improved my confidence and ability to communicate with people. It’s something I’ve been doing every single day since I graduated, so it’s definitely had a huge impact on all the jobs I’ve had so far. There’s also a ton of resources that the university provides that I probably didn’t take enough advantage of. Things like Careers Network, Worklink, even just chatting with lecturers and personal tutors about possible avenues you could take. Pretty much everyone I’ve ever spoken to on campus or in another organisation has been very willing to tell you a bit about their job and share a few contacts if you’re willing to ask (and maybe provide a coffee). 

What advice would you give to students interested in getting into your industry or role? 

This isn’t specific to just the training and development sector, but chat to everyone and take advantage of every event. Someone will know someone who’s friend works with someone in that sector, and they will be more than happy to give you a phone number or e-mail address. Just being friendly and getting to know people opens a lot of doors, even if that ends up to only be someone directing you to a job vacancy – it’s one you might not have known existed in the first place!


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