Naomi McAleer, placement student 2018/2019 at Lighthouse Communications, explains why she is recommending student peers to take a placement year before graduation.

Stand out from the crowd

Initially, the reason I decided to do an industrial placement year was to increase my job prospects once I graduate.

Graduates are churned out by the bucket load, and with the job market getting more and more competitive, it is important to stand out from other candidates.

There is no doubt that a good education and enviable grades are important, but what is equally as important, and what is just as valued by an employer, is hands-on, real-life work experience.

Using your initiative and seeking out a work placement shows future employers that you are career focused and strategically thinking about your future. In my opinion, this can only be a good thing.

Learn and collaborate with experts

My placement year has been amazing. I was trusted with real responsibility from day one and felt like a part of the team straight away.

I think this is one of the main benefits of doing a placement year with a small company – you are never far from help or advice, but equally get to experience responsibility and taking control of your workload.

As a small team, collaboration is part of the culture meaning everyone, including me, learns so much from their peers on a daily basis. As a placement student new to the industry, and to corporate working life, this experience has been invaluable. I have learnt a lot from hearing about the challenges faced by my colleagues and most importantly, how and why they have overcome them.

Lessen the final year shock

Working with a range of major corporate and consumer clients is not something I thought I would have had the opportunity to do at such a young age and whilst still at university.

However, gone are the days of waking up in the afternoon! My placement has enabled me to get into a 9am-5.30pm routine, and hopefully this will make the transition back into university life a bit easier, especially with an increased workload and tighter schedule in my final year.

Not only will a quality placement help you decide whether the path you have chosen is the right one for you, it will equip you with knowledge and experience that just can’t be taught in a lecture or a seminar.

Almost one year on

Overall, I feel a lot more confident in my ability to put what I have learnt in the classroom to use; to work as part of a team; and all with an appetite to continue growing and learning as I go. From my experience, I cannot recommend doing a work placement enough.

Hopefully, like me, you will complete your industrial placement and go back to university even more determined to do well, and land your dream job.

Good luck!!

Want to be our next placement student?  If you are interested in our placement opportunity for 2019/2020, click here to find out more about the role. Apply by Friday 15th February 2019.