South Africa work placement exceeds expectations!

By Laura Walker, 2nd Year Geography student, Birmingham University

Will Davis, (2nd Year Film student, Bath Spa University) and I travelled to Cape Town to complete a work placement with Prophet. During the trip we have been able to undergo a rounded experience by working alongside members of the Prophet South Africa team, visiting their clients and working in an industry completely unknown to us. Due to the to the location of the placement we have encountered experiences specific to South Africa, and working with Prophet also allows us to better understand it on a global scale within a global company.

During the trip we worked in Prophet South Africa’s office in Cape Town, as well as accompanying the Account Managers on client visits - both invaluable opportunities we have been lucky to partake in.

On the client visits we developed an overarching understanding of the fresh produce production process, as well as how Prophet forms an integral role as a partner in this. On the packhouse tours we were fortunate enough to go on, (hence the hairnet attire above!), we were educated about each stage of production - there is such high precision and quality control implemented, whilst still being on a mass scale. These visits were particularly instrumental in our understanding of the fresh produce industry, with the extent of our knowledge vastly increasing.

The skills we have been able to learn and develop on this trip are pivotal for any career or industry. On the client visits we learnt about the temporal and spatial aspects of fresh produce and we were able to directly interact with the clients in interviews and conversations about their company. This was an opportunity we will probably not experience again, and the social skills gained from communications with established global companies was fantastic.

Additional fundamental skills included office etiquette, as neither of us had previously worked in an office environment - these skills will undoubtedly be beneficial going forward.

Look out for the Customer Stories - case study documents and mini films - we helped to put together.

As well as the work placement we also had a full ‘South Africa experience’ through other non-work related activities. A good proportion of our trip comprised wine tasting at South African vineyards including visits to Uva Mira, Tokara and Guardian Peak. After the clouds cleared, the views of Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain were beautiful and worth the nervy cable car journey. Equally amazing was our visit to the Kirstenbosch Gardens. Even the journeys between locations allowed us to admire South Africa's vast landscape.

We could not be more grateful to Claire for selecting, supporting and encouraging us on this amazing work placement and the Prophet South Africa team for their hospitality and assistance.