Kirstie Williams

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Under the Spotlight: Industrial placement opportunities

University can sometimes feel like a whirlwind. Keeping everything in balance – lectures, coursework, exams, societies, socials, finances, flatmates, relationships, and health – is no easy task, and that’s before we add thinking about the future into the mix!

Some of Jubb’s recent graduate engineers have told us that this was most definitely the case for their undergraduate experience, as they struggled to know which path was the best one for them both in relation to their personal development and future career prospects.

One option for students in their third year of studying is to take part in an industrial placement scheme. These involve spending up to a year putting what you’ve learned thus far into practice, working alongside qualified engineers on real-life projects. But, how do you know if this is the right move for you?

To help you make the decision, our People and Development Manager, Kirstie Williams, sat down with two of our previous industrial placement participants (both of whom have since gone on to accept full-time jobs here at Jubb) to get their first-hand insights.

Harry Gill (Graduate Structural Engineer) and Matt Franklin (Senior Structural Engineer).

What made you apply for an industrial placement?

Harry: In my second year at the University of Plymouth, I was unsure about which career pathway I wanted to take. I decided to go for an industrial placement because it would give me the chance to get a taste of what different specialisms would be like in practice and help me make a much more informed choice about my future.

Matt: I was keen to put into practice some of the skills I had learnt in the first couple of years at the University of Plymouth. Also, having spoken with other peers in the academic years above me, it was clear that those who had the opportunity to undertake a work placement within the industry massively benefited from this in their final years at university.

What were the main benefits of taking part in an industrial placement scheme like Jubb’s?

Harry: Taking part gave me on-the-job insights that I just wouldn’t have been able to gain in the classroom. These were unbelievably helpful when I was completing my final exams and assignments, as there were a lot of design and judgement-based tasks that a number of my peers who hadn’t completed a year in industry struggled with. Also, I found that taking a break from my studies was very beneficial as it allowed me to recharge and reflect.

Matt: One of the biggest benefits for me was the practical knowledge gained during my placement and being able to visualise the ‘real’ scenario. The experience significantly improves communication skills, but also embeds the need to effectively communicate to ensure a project runs effectively. Also I should mention that students who have undertaken a placement year are generally considered more desirable to potential employers as these candidates are likely to have a better understanding of the difference between university and industry.

What advice would you give to students who are considering doing an industrial placement?

Matt: I would not hesitate in recommending an industrial placement to any student, there are so many advantages of undertaking a placement, but the below are just a few I can think of off the top of my head.

  • Knowledge/experience gained during the process and how this puts you above those at university who have not undertaken a placement
  • Financial benefits – salary, potential for final year(s) sponsorship
  • Potential for job when completing university (at the same firm or increased chance at alternative firms)
  • If unsure about sector, ability to trial a specific area as a placement rather than after university to assist with career positioning once university course has been complete

Harry: I’d say that an industrial placement at a company like Jubb is a fantastic way to figure out what you want to do after university and even give yourself the competitive edge when applying for graduate positions. Employers really value commercial awareness and industry experience, so it’s great to have it on your record when the time comes to enter the world of work!

If you would like to speak to our team about the range of industrial placement options we have here at Jubb, contact Kirstie Williams for more information. We take a person-centred approach, recognising that no two students are alike, working to adapt our opportunities based on individual needs, aspirations, and career goals.