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Ryan Clifford, Nimlok’s latest intern reflects on his introduction to the events sector…

September 9, 2014 |

Initially I had no idea that the Nimlok student marketing competition included a 4 week internship, so of course, when I found out I was overjoyed but didn’t know what to expect. By the time I had come to the end of the 4 weeks, I would of never have guessed the exposure I would get to so many areas both at Nimlok and my time at their sister agency, Creative Bridge.

Working within the marketing department was enlightening. Being in the first year of my IT Management for Business (ITMB) degree I haven’t had much exposure to marketing so far and I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out how marketing links and utilises technology.

OutSTANDing student of the year competition winner - Ryan

During my first week at Nimlok I had introductions to all the departments and viewed how exhibition stands are produced, from the design, printing and cutting to the pre build area which is constantly changing with different stands erected pre-show. Seeing the different architectural styles and different finishes, such as large fabric graphics, culminating in amazing displays was fantastic.

During my time I was set to work on 4 projects. Very early on I attended a meeting with Nimlok’s digital agency, a great learning experience to the world of digital after I got around all the acronyms. One of my projects was to help them with SEO research for the Nimlok website, which opened my eyes to what SEO is and how it’s done. The other 3 projects were based on market research and analytics.

My second week was spent at Creative Bridge, helping my understanding of the digital engagement tools (games, quizzes, surveys, animations) used on a stand to increase data capture and offer visitors an improved on-stand experience. Back at Nimlok’s HQ where I spent my third week, I was kept busy with my remaining projects and I got speaking to many other employees, understanding all the aspects involved in building exhibition stands. Also, by this time I had heard enough phone calls to roughly know what to say if I ever picked up the phone; unfortunately I didn’t have the nerve to test this theory!

The main skills I have developed are analytical and use of Excel, with spreadsheets sometimes running into thousands of lines! Being able to research efficiently to identify key information is a critical skill which the projects helped me to enhance. Throughout my time spent at Nimlok I was exposed to how projects are managed utilising many departments (marketing, sales, design, project management, graphics, production, etc) and how they are managed internally throughout this process.

Gaining industry experience in the first year of my degree has been invaluable. It’s enabled me to strengthen skills which I’m good at, but has also given me the opportunity to target skills I need to develop; one being how to estimate the time needed to go through a lengthy spreadsheet! Of course I now also understand what PPC and SEO are – which should come in very handy.

I can’t forget to say thank you to everyone at Nimlok and Creative Bridge who made my time enjoyable and taught me something; even the door code to the building which I kept forgetting. It’s been fantastic to have an internship which has been very accommodating to me and help with both the technical and business side of my degree.