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Placements prove students can cut it in industry

We talk to MEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering student Oliver Forbes-Shaw about his placement at EDM Ltd, one of the world's leading providers of training simulators. Right from the start he’s been given lots of responsibility and he says the whole experience is crucial in proving students can cut it in the industry following graduation.

Oliver Forbes-Shaw is studying Electronic Engineering, MEng (Hons).
Oliver Forbes-Shaw is studying Electronic Engineering, MEng (Hons).

Being on placement has given Oliver the chance to learn new skills and build on those he’s acquired through his University studies.

“If you’re in any doubt about placements, don’t be and just do it,” he advises.

According to Oliver this is crucial in proving students can cut it in the industry following graduation.

“Having industry experience is absolutely vital,” he says.

“It provides an insight into the industry you have chosen to be a part of. You’ll find out what area you want to work in, as well as what you don’t like and where the most money is made. It’ll hone the skills you need for your chosen area while the facilities are still available to you as a student.

"If I was to hire someone fresh from university, I would be more inclined to take on someone with work experience. It also helps you fit in quicker and reap the rewards more quickly."

“My first two years’ worth of modules have been 100% relevant to my placement where I’ve been given a lot of daily responsibilities including fault finding. This involves investigating where the problem lies; it could be with the software or an electrical, design, mechanical or labelling issue, for instance. It’s important the cause gets recorded for future reference, to cut down on investigating the same faults.”

When it comes to advice on securing a placement Oliver adds:

“Apply anywhere and everywhere. Big companies, small companies, go to engineering expos with CVs and hand them in. There’s a lot of competition for placements.

“I was very lucky to get one, and don’t be put off from getting no response to your applications. And don’t give up until you have one, even if it’s after you graduate. Graduate internships are available but it’s down to you in the end grinding those application forms out to every company you can.”