Alright? I hope you are. I have to apologise that there is nothing really about zombies, but I would encourage you to read on and you will not regret.
Industrial Placement, what on earth is that? It is in fact the same as an internship, some of you might know it as ‘attachment’, depending where you are from.
This is whereby a student takes some time out of uni usually just before their final year to work for companies that will potentially hire graduates studying that particular subject. The placements will be approved by your relevant school (if it’s year-long), and might differ for summer ones.
The University provides adequate help in finding the placements, but it remains the duty of the student to do the applications.
Industrial Placement, worth it? Honestly speaking I never thought about one when I started uni. I was actually enrolled on a course that had no option for one, but after attending a presentation by one of the students who had just come from placement I found every reason to get a placement.
I will try to give you honest and practical reasons why you should consider a placement. These are things I have experienced myself.
Get paid for getting worthwhile experience
If you can relate to the pic above then consider a placement (just kidding). Oh how I love the month end. I always like looking at my balance on payday, its always a good feeling. Imagine getting paid for gaining experience that is vital for your career. Most year-long and summer placements are paid (I speak for engineering ones). This is really good because if you are sensible enough you will be able to save some.
Exploring possible career paths
The fact that you will be physically in a the work environment full time and get to see the day-to-day business of that particular company means you can judge if that’s the right path for you. When I joined Arup, I just knew about the general electrical engineering they do. After spending a few months doing lighting design, I found it more fun and its now something I am considering specialising in. See placement gives you the third eye that uni will never do.
Gain Transferable skills
Ever since I joined Arup as an Industrial Trainee, I have gained skills I never dreamed of developing. I have learned how to use new software, done presentations, design reviews, attended courses andlearned how to maintain customer relationships. I am so fortunate that some of the stuff I have learnt I will be useful in my final year (added bonus).
By meeting manufacturers I have gained contacts and I also have practical experience of how a project is managed. As I will be doing a project management module in my final year I am sure I will understand it easily.
Making sense of what you’ve learned in uni
Have you ever been in such a situation where you fail to understand a concept in your studies? Have you tried everything possible: Learners Development Unit, all-nighters etc? Then a placement might be a good call.
There are some engineering concepts I never got to understand really well in Uni, or didn’t find applicable at all, but taking a placement has really opened my eyes as I now have have a practical approach to understanding engineering concepts such as generation, lighting controls and maximum demand calculations.
Contribution to final year project/dissertation
For those that will have a final year project or dissertation to do, a placement can give amazing ideas of what to work on. I have already had a couple of ideas for my project from my managers, if you are lucky you can a do a company sponsored one that will also enhance you chances of them employing you after graduation. With the knowledge and skills gained during the placement you can use them to ace you project, I am planning on doing just that.
Enhance employment chances
There are some lucky ones that get a graduate job offer when they finish their placement.
With some organisation they fast track you on the graduate program, this means you skip stages of assessment. Unfortunately I cannot tell you my situation yet.
I hope this post has been helpful. Please feel free to comment and ask questions about the placement experience, all the bloggers are happy to assist where they can. Til then keep well