Case study

Samantha's excelling in her first graduate role

Real-world experience, an active mentorship and host of opportunities have helped Samantha O'Neill secure her first graduate role. Having achieved a First Class honours degree in BA (Hons) Event Management, Samantha is now going from strength to strength at the Derby Conference Centre.

Mentoring scheme

Samantha first networked with the Derby Conference Centre through the University of Derby’s Mentoring Programme, where she was paired with the centre's Managing Director.  She says:

"The Managing Director at the Derby Conference Centre was my mentor on the Mentoring Programme – we were paired up after an interview process. He supported me through my final year of university and has also helped me with my career planning. This scheme has been great in helping me secure my first graduate role."

Having attended the Careers and Employability Fair, Samantha applied for a 12-month internship as an Events and Marketing Assistant with Derby Conference Centre to start upon completion of her degree.


Throughout the internship, Samantha demonstrated her events management knowledge and skills, and proved she could adapt to both challenging and changing situations. 

"I had an internship at the Derby Conference Centre lined up for after university, as an Events and Marketing Assistant. I was lucky enough for them to still welcome me to the team in the pandemic, and I was then offered a permanent job after my year’s internship ended in September."

Having successfully completed her internship, Samantha was offered a promotion to Conference and Events Sales Executive/Marketing Coordinator at the Derby Conference Centre. Samantha is now responsible for in house events at the Derby Conference Centre, as well as all their marketing activities, promotions and website updates. 

Samantha O'Neill

Real world opportunities

Samantha has always made the most of the opportunities available. She says: "During my degree, I worked in the Events Office at the Devonshire Dome as well as volunteering at local events, which enhanced my professional development and allowed me to see a variety of roles within the industry."

Samantha explains that the course content included diverse aspects of event planning, the social and political role of events and the contribution of events to community.

"My time at the university was amazing – I had a lot of opportunities within my degree to work on events and I had a module focused on event planning. We put on our own event, which gave me real world experience of the events industry."

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