Anglia Ruskin students Beth, Diner and Sebastian talk about the benefits of taking a work placement as part of their degree courses – and Paul Hale, who helped to create a placement programme in London, talks about the benefit to both students and employers.
Beth undertook a year-long placement at Sea Life as part of her BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation degree.
"Working here for a year has meant that I have gained so much invaluable experience in this field of work, including understanding conservation issues and how big organisations such as SeaLife help and contribute. The job allows you to network with people in many well-known charities such as Greenpeace and Marine Stewardship Council, giving you a better understanding of global issues.
"Having a year's experience in a company as big and as established as SeaLife means people respect your experience and are always keen to hear what you have to say and your opinion on matters. Personally I have learned to work well as part of a big team where situations can arise quickly giving you no time to plan, and where communication is vital. Overall I feel this whole experience has been a positive one which will only help me in the future."
Diner worked as a software developer in Cambridge during the second year of his BSc (Hons) Computer Science degree.
"With the help of the University’s partnerships in industry I managed to secure a one-year placement working as a software developer in Cambridge.
"This period has proven incredibly beneficial for me, helping me to put all the knowledge I gained at university into context. I’ve had an experienced mentor who was always eager to help me with advice and recommendations in directing my education. The projects that came in have brought along new challenges and tested my ability to learn and adapt to new programming languages and environments.
"This placement has proven a success for both me and the company I worked for. In fact, I have [continued] to work part-time in my 3rd year."
BSc (Hons) Computer Science student Sebastian worked as a trainee computer support technician in the University of Cambridge's Department of Chemistry.
"Throughout the placement, one of the most rewarding things has been working alongside members of the Department to resolve complex problems and tasks that are unique to their working environment. I feel that this placement has been invaluable, as it has provided me with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and teaching from the past two years of study. For students, a placement offers a view into working life and the challenges that a user-facing role brings."
"We wanted to create something where the students could come in and experience working in a dynamic and challenging environment, with on the job training which they could go on and use to secure themselves a job after they graduate. We also wanted to train students that would then come back and work with us after they graduate.
"I think the placement programme will be an excellent career move for the students. Having this placement on their CV, where they can actually prove they’ve done the job, will put them miles ahead of any other candidate when it comes to a job interview."