Work experience during your studies is essential for successful career progression after university. As well as your academic achievements, employers will be looking at what you have done outside of the curriculum, whether through part-time work, voluntary work, placements or internships. It doesn't matter if this is not related to your subject of study - there are numerous skills you can learn which will be of benefit whichever line of work you do. These are known as transferable skills (such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, IT and many more!).
Prior to joining the University of Bedfordshire I would never have imagined achieving anything above a C- let alone be on a placement year with a high chance of receiving a job opportunity as soon as I graduate. There are so many opportunities and advantages available at the University, and it’s just about engaging and seeking those opportunities for yourself.
I had (also) reached a point where I was deciding whether I should look for a year’s placement after Year 2 and do a four-year course instead of a three-year course. The CST staff members were really encouraging and helpful while I was deciding. They created opportunities by inviting in previous University of Bedfordshire students who explained how it had benefited them. It’s only an extra year in the long run and it exposes you to a real-life industry in a working environment. So of course, with all the positive feedback, I went ahead and decided to do a placement year.
It was not, however, easy to get a placement, but with the help of the Careers and Employability Service it certainly was easier. They helped me improve my CV so much that it went from one pages to two and included so much more information I wouldn’t have thought of putting in. They then exposed me to companies that were recruiting. I got many interviews, psychometric tests and attended assessment centres and at no point did the Careers Service abandon me. They would help at every point and give me the advice I needed to pass those phases of recruitment.
Eventually, I accepted an offer from a company called Travelport. Travelport is a company that works in the travel industry to help make selling travel easier. My role at the company is IT Development Intern - part of the Rail team, that makes selling rail travel for agencies easier using Travelport Smartpoint. As of writing, my role includes a combination of projects relating to technology, programming applications that help automate manual processes and project management in general. Travelport isn’t a company that just abandons their interns but helps train and build them up every step of the way - not just in a technical sense in their roles but also in a social way. Travelport increased my confidence by allowing me to collaborate with the other 17 interns from different business industries, such as finance, marketing, human resources, etc. Travelport has also challenged us to get involved in charity, by raising a certain sum for charity by the end of the year. Full story - PDF 52.5 KB
Undertaking a Professional Practice Year Placement has allowed me to gain the experience and skills necessary to succeed in a real work environment. This alongside my degree will hopefully allow me to secure the best graduate job for me after my final year.
I am a Business Studies (Project Management) student in the third year of my four year course at the University of Bedfordshire.
I feel my Professional Practice Year Placement has helped me to mature as a person as I have been given a number of real work-related projects to tackle that have an actual impact on the University’s stakeholders. These included the Part-time Jobs Fair, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey and the International Women’s Day Conference 2018.
Moreover, the position has allowed me to transition from a student to an employee pretty seamlessly. This was my first office based role and it has enabled me to develop my strengths and work on my weaknesses in a professional setting. This is an opportunity I am extremely grateful for and this has added to my belief that a Professional Practice Year Placement was the correct choice for me and my career.
The fact that I decided to take my placement year at a Careers and Employability Office has also allowed me to have a real insight into the careers I have an interest in and developed my networks and knowledge of where I can go after completing my studies. I was also given the chance to go on employer visits to companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and had the opportunity to participate in a mentoring scheme organised by the National Mentoring Consortium with HM Revenue and Customs.
If I could talk to my unsure-self from a year ago, who wondered if a PPY was for me; I'd tell myself to stop hesitating and go for it, because it will all be SO worth it.
I am a third year student studying BSc Sports Science and Exercise Practise. I feel my PPY helped me learn how to organise and plan much better, which will be very important as I will be working on my dissertation in the final year. I also learned how important it is to start preparing for your career early on while you are still studying.
Understandably you need to focus on your studies as well as taking time off to relax/ have fun but spending just an hour or two looking into graduate schemes, working on your CV, looking into what the hiring process is for different companies an hour or two per week will prepare you for a hopefully smooth transition into a graduate role.
In terms of how my PPY prepared me for when I graduate, I feel like I have a better understanding of what the career world requires for me to make it in it. These are things that may not be covered in your degree.
You may have practical or technical knowledge through your degree in the field that you are looking to go and work in but are you able to speak professionally in order to convince employers to hire you in the first-place? Is your written communication up to scratch?
Are you able to work well in a team or do you perhaps know what qualities you need to have a leadership position if you’re an ambitious individual? In my personal experience, I learned about the above and much more.
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Careers & Employability Service
University of Bedfordshire
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