A century for School placement team

The School of Computing’s placement team is celebrating a landmark. For the first time ever, over 100 students from the School will be taking a paid Year in Industry placement as part of their degree programmes in the next academic year (2013-14). In 2009-10 only 45 students opted to take the Year in Industry option.

Katie Van Sanden, Placement Officer said: “Although the IT placement market is buoyant, our students are still competing nationally (and sometimes internationally) for quality placements which is tough! In addition to knowledge gained from their courses, employers are looking for evidence of personal skills such as adaptability, communication and organisation, and recruitment processes are designed to assess these as much as technical ability. This year’s high number is testimony to the sheer determination of our students to engage with these recruitment processes, to learn how to promote their skills effectively and, for some, to learn from rejection – all alongside a challenging second year of undergraduate study or Master’s degree.”

Students from the undergraduate and taught Master’s programmes have secured placements in locations around the world and will be working locally in Kent, in London, and nationally from Devon to Yorkshire. Some have managed to secure placements overseas in Switzerland and Hong Kong, and 15 students will be working for Cisco in California as part of an ongoing programme.

The 64 organisations the students will be working for range from a start-up in Surrey where the placement student is half of a team of two, to global corporations. Industries include entertainment, pharmaceuticals, travel, technology, consulting, defense, finance and local government, reflecting the need for computing skills in all sectors.

The job titles are equally as diverse with students taking on roles in web design, coding, consulting, business analysis, IT support, testing, research and development, project management, web development, security analysis and digital marketing.

Katie continued: “We are building on existing links with organisations who understand the value our students can bring, but we are also pleased to be working with some new, exciting companies and hope to generate repeat business with these. This relationship-building also contributes to the ongoing growth in numbers of students placed.”

Many placement students are offered employment as graduates in their placement company and return to their final year at university with a job offer. In four of the placement organisations (Clearbooks, Holiday Extras, GForces and Wanstor) the placement students will be working alongside Kent alumni who themselves were once placement students. In a couple of cases alumni have introduced the placement programme to their new employer, generating yet more links.

Over 70% of undergraduates at the School of Computing opt to take a Year in Industry. The most recent NSS survey revealed that 100% of students who graduated from Computer Science with a Year In Industry BSc (Hons) at Kent were either employed or taking higher qualifications six months after graduating.

All students considering taking the Year in Industry option are supported by the School placement team, which gives advice on CV writing, job applications, interview techniques and assessment centres. Students are visited by a Placement Officer during their placement, and at the end they submit a reflective report and a performance evaluation form which counts towards their degree.