The majority of our scholars are offered permanent positions with their sponsors upon graduation, following successful work placements.

Make Your Summer Work Placement a Success: 7 Top Tips

As summer approaches and the academic year draws to a close, thoughts of engineering students turn from Labs, projects reports and exams to work placements. The work placement is an important part of the UK Electronics Skills Foundation’s scholarship scheme. We know that this is a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable experience and to learn first-hand about working at a leading Electronics company; however employers treat work placements as an extended period to evaluate undergraduates in order to judge their suitability for graduate employment. At the UKESF, we know that the majority of our scholars are offered permanent positions with their sponsors upon graduation, following successful work placements. So, how should you prepare for your summer work placement and impress your sponsor; what are the top tips for success?

Some things are obvious, like updating your LinkedIn profile and bringing some biscuits or a cake with you (Engineers love cake!); however we’ve compiled a list of 7 more top tips from the experiences of previous scholars. These tips are based on their experiences, so you can trust that they know what they are talking about and they can hopefully make all the difference to ensure you have a successful placement and then get offered a graduate position.

  1. Network. Make connections with as many colleagues as possible in the first few days of your work placement. It can be tough in a new environment but if you’re friendly and introduce yourself, people will be more willing to help and provide encouragement.
  1. Ask. Don’t feel too overwhelmed if a tool or piece of jargon is new to you – you’re still a student and the company won’t expect you to know everything in the beginning. It takes time to get used to new things. So don’t be afraid to ask questions; whether you’re clarifying something you’ve been asked to do or you don’t know the meaning of a particular abbreviation, asking a question shows that you care and ensures no time is wasted due to misunderstandings.
  1. Take an interest. Jump in to anything that gets offered to you; whether a new project given to you by your supervisor or a social event to get to know your department, employers like enthusiasm and immersing yourself is a way of getting noticed. Be interested in your colleagues and ask them what they’re doing – you’ll meet some interesting people with exciting careers and be surprised what you can learn.
  1. Prepare. Prepare before meetings in order to get the most out of them and plan any questions you want to ask. Also, be prepared to offer an opinion if asked.
  1. Take Notes. Carry a notebook at all times: make notes of important or interesting information, maintain a to-do list and keep a record of what you’ve achieved, set daily and weekly targets to incentivise yourself, and jot down anything you want to research or ask your supervisor about later.
  1. Socialise. Check if there are any organised social activities at lunchtime or after work; socialising with colleagues will make you feel more comfortable and confident, both in your a new place of work and potentially a new city.
  1. Reflect. Be honest about your performance, your strengths and the ways you could improve, and take advantage of the insights other people can bring to your work. Don’t worry about making mistakes; just use the experience to your advantage by finding out what went wrong and why, and learn something new in the process.

Finally, we would say remember to have a good time and that getting involved in as much as possible is the key to making  the most of your placement.

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