It was great to see our placement students at their first call-back day on Tuesday 6th October, with one attending from her Paris office via Skype.
Most of these students have now been with their placement organisations for three or four months and it was very interesting to hear about their experiences there. All of them seem to be enjoying the work they are doing, but were perhaps slightly less enthusiastic about having to get up early enough to survive the commute to work and arrive on time – no late nights or mornings lazing about in bed for these students on workdays.
Working for a wide range of organisations, all of the placement students agreed that they were doing real and interesting work with quite a lot of responsibility from day one. Another point of agreement was the need to make sure that you brush up on your Excel skills before you start work. Every single placement student said that they used Excel almost every day — this is something I can tell my first-year Information Systems students to encourage them to complete their Excel workshops!
After chatting about their various experiences at work, we moved onto thinking about preparation for the academic requirements for the placement year: a 5000-word case study discussing how theoretical ideas studied in the first and second years were relevant to their work and their placement organisations, and a personal development portfolio illustrating how they have developed competencies while on placement. The latter will definitely be useful when they apply for their next job. Emma Baker, our YIB Careers Consultant, asked them to discuss competencies they have already mastered while on placement, as well as those they are finding difficult. She says that it is often these difficult things which, once mastered, will make the best examples for discussion during interviews.