Student Placement Officer, Stacy MacCarthy shares with us her thoughts on how work placement plays a vital part in the personal and professional development of students at DIT College of Business.
Stacy is 25 years with DIT, creating significant relationships with companies and building integral work placement partnerships over the years to include Dunnes Stores, Dalata Group, KPMG, EY, Applegreen, ESB, Harvey Norman and Maximum Media to name a few.
Each year Ms MacCarthy has the tough job of placing over 300 students and works with over 200 companies to find the perfect fit for both student and organisation. Working with large multi- nationals to small start-ups, the diverse mix gives students a great opportunity to experience varying work environments.
DIT College of Business organise work placement for 3rd year students on a number of programmes ”The goal is to match the student to the company from a job perspective as well as personality, to ensure they’ll fit in with the organisational culture and ethos’
Stacy prides herself on getting to know the students through personal interaction, monitoring their college work ethic, identifying their key skills and understanding where they would like to work. She also provides a series of talks on business etiquette which takes into consideration business norms, professional standards, advice on how to dress and behave in the workplace, and also a high emphasis on making the most of the opportunity and the value it holds. Guest speakers from companies also take part in the seminars, providing students with information on what they are looking for from a work experience candidate and the expectations they have for their organisation.
What do students gain from work experience?
Maturity is the biggest benefit, they certainly experience a culture shock going from college life to the work environment, working 9-5, be answerable to management and working to deadlines in real business scenarios. It’s a reality check and a taste of life as a graduate. It also sets them up for their final year in college, they can see how the skills they are learning are applicable to work life- they understand the context of what they are learning and college falls into place.
One of my favourite moments is when students return to college from their work experience, the level of maturity and confidence; it certainly gives me a sense that my role has contributed to their professional and personal development.
What value do companies receive from the work placement programme?
Additional talented resources is definitely a major factor for companies, having extra manpower from high calibre individuals to assist with general duties and upcoming projects is very beneficial for organisations.
Our students gain from small class sizes and participate in group work and presentations which help with their interpersonal development and confidence in the work place.
DIT students are also potential future employees for the companies in where they participate in their work experience, over 25% of students secure a job or a place on a graduate programme on their completion.
How is it different for a student who has not participated in work experience?
The great thing about DIT College of Business is that students either take part in Erasmus or work placement so each student benefits from personal and professional development by immersing themselves in situations outside of their current comfort zones. By entering the workplace or by visiting another country to study brings a level of confidence and maturity.
Finally, what are your top tips for an interview?
The basic interview etiquette is to keep eye contact, have a firm handshake and good posture. Dress conservatively and age appropriate with a smart business approach. Shoes are important and often overlooked, make sure they are clean and polished, again smart business look. I tell my students not to use too much perfume or cologne as it can be overpowering , use it sparingly or not at all.
My main advice to students is to be confident in their ability, they are all very capable and should make sure that comes across to the interviewer. For anybody who is particularly nervous, we do offer one-on-one interview skills and mock interviews with the careers office. For many students, it may be their first big interview and we take that into account and assist with preparing them as much as we can in advance.
To find out how your company can participate in our placement programme at DIT College of Business, contact Stacy MacCarthy on +353 1 4027089 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org