I am currently a student at Brunel University London that is undertaking a work placement as part of my degree. I decided to undertake a placement overseas, specifically in Tokyo, Japan, and I am completing my placement at Bosch Japan.
How have the Placement team helped in preparing you for your placement?
At the start of my second year at Brunel, I had the chance to meet the Professional Development team that focused primarily on placements for Computer Science students. Prior to meeting the team, I actually already wanted to take on a placement before heading into my final year at University. However, the team at the Professional Development Centre (PDC) helped me understand and realise just how important it is to gain industry experience before finishing University.
They spoke about the skills that one will gain through the placements, and how the industry actually looks for graduates with real work experience. The placement team helped me understand all this through lectures and inviting guest companies to discuss how they recruit and what the benefits are.
How have the Placement team assisted you with making applications?
Where to begin? The Placement team, more specifically Mohamed Rahman within the PDC was working incredibly hard to manage, arrange, coordinate meetings, lectures, and one-on-one sessions for every student that wished to meet.
I personally visited the PDC every week, and in most cases more than once, and at least several times via email. The Placement team helped me completely with my CV design and how to restructure it in a way that would make it stand out from the rest. I essentially redesigned my entire CV from the very bottom, because I asked them to treat it like they were employing me and what would their first impression would be - would it be something that gets their attention or something that is simply thrown away. The Placement team also helped me prepare for my interviews by performing practices, trials, and elevator pitch training.
Understandably that the Placement team was very surprised and congratulated me on securing a placement across the world. Despite not having much experience about placements in Japan, they did their best to simulate what I would expect.
How has your placement helped in developing professional skills for industry?
Placements are critical for the development of students, not just because they will get more technical experience, but also because students will get a sense of reality. Speaking from personal experience, I am literally alone in a country 5732 miles (more or less) from home, and this placement taught me how to build myself and continue to constantly learn, study, ask for help and advice. Placements will contain errors and difficulties that students will need to face and that is great, because these errors and fails will make the students think and try alternatives instead of relying on a teacher, tutor or classmates to fix the issues.
Anyone can gain technical skills and knowledge through books, videos and learning platforms, but gaining soft skills and life lessons through these placements will help the students create a different mind-set and approach at work and life.
Again, speaking from experience, I know multiple programming languages, software tools and how to build and maintain a system. But this placement helped me understand how to plan effectively, how to present my work and findings to management, how to communicate with different departments, how to build trust, and how companies work together to achieve their goals. I also learnt skills that I didn’t even know I needed - Bosch Japan is technically part of the automotive industry and I learnt so much about electrical engineering, different parts and computer systems in vehicles, as well as fuel cells.
Placements are a great way for students to learn more than what is covered in classrooms and laboratories. Students will gain a sense of real responsibly - projects and tasks in companies will affect millions of people or even the company’s revenue, and this is something that graduates without placement experience struggle to understand.
Above all, placements help built character and develop skills not achievable in a lecture or classroom The students on placements understand that they need to grow-up and or else they may simply not make it.