The power of work placements

Jonathon Nicholls

With increased competition for every position in today’s job market, applicants need to stand out from the crowd and it’s never been more important for graduates to have substantial and relevant work experience on their CV.

Not only does a placement provide invaluable knowledge and understanding of what that job will involve, it provides a real insight to students to decide if it is a career path they want to pursue after completing their degree.

It also develops the ‘soft skills’ of individuals that can be applied across different sectors – so even if a student ultimately chooses to pursue a different path, the placement should not be viewed as a waste of time.

The University of Birmingham’s Careers Network offers a huge variety of placements to students across different trades and sectors on its website dedicated to providing students with advice on internships, work experience and funding opportunities, as well as links to current vacancies.

The website helps students identify the type of work experience that would be most appropriate for their needs, whether that be a summer internship, voluntary work or work shadowing.

There is also a wide range of success stories and case studies from alumni and students – and undergraduate Jonathon Nicholls (3rd year BSc Mathematics) is just one example of where a successful internship can lead.

With financial assistance from the Gateway bursary scheme, Jonathon secured a three-month marketing and trading internship at Gazprom, where he undertook a range of projects on the trading floor and gained a valuable insight into the commodities market, learning how to use bespoke trading software and developing his analytical skills.

He was subsequently offered a permanent graduate position by Gazprom, but opted to take a graduate position with another global firm. He was also nominated as an Intern of the Year for the National Undergraduate Employability Awards.

Jonathon says: ‘I have learned a great deal about the commodities markets and how they are traded, specifically in UK and continental gas and power. This internship experience has excelled me beyond my peers who will be applying for similar jobs.’

Could your business benefit from work placements students from Birmingham? Please contact us if you would like to know more about how to get involved.