Home > Careers, Employment > Life as a placement student: It’s just the beginning…

Life as a placement student: It’s just the beginning…



When I first sat down at the start of my second year to listen to a seminar about placements, I honestly never thought I would ever set aside time to pursue one. However, I persisted and, with the backing and support of the university, managed to secure a very good placement with Ricardo Ltd DTS (Driveline and Transmission Systems) in Royal Leamington Spa at the Midlands Technical Centre. It’s been a busy year, to say the least, especially going through the whole process of finding a placement to begin with.

I remember frantically applying online to just about every company in the Automotive and Motorsport industries (as I am doing Automotive Engineering with Motorsport MEng). Some placements will open the doors for students as early as September. Despite this, I started to apply in January which I regret doing now since some placements had already closed applications by then – it is best to apply as early as possible so you do not miss out on your ‘dream’ placement closing early for applications. In total, I had applied for over 10 different companies. As the old saying goes, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’.

What helped me significantly was the Careers, Employment & Enterprise service at the University of  Hertfordshire. At your convenience, you can book yourself in to go over anything such as revising your CV, gaining interview tips, or to simply talk about your prospective career in general. I thought I had a really good CV. But, after visiting the Careers, Employment & Enterprise  service, I realised there were many many areas of improvement!

Slowly, interviews started to show up in January. Annoyingly, some of them meant I had to miss lectures to get to the interview days. This is pretty much unavoidable, though, lecturers are more than happy to help you go over the content you may have missed: after all, lecturers and the university encourage students to take up placement years as part of their degree.

So after my CV was trimmed and I was suited and booted ready to take on the world, I headed off week after week to interviews. The experience I gained from being interviewed so many times really did help – it was the last company that interviewed me that I accepted a placement with.

So here I am, at Ricardo as part of the Control and Calibration department for driveline and transmission systems. Already, I could honestly say I have learnt far more about MATLAB mathematical software, transmissions and business life than I would have ever learnt at university. The great thing is that I am only reaching four months into the placement! It really is just the beginning…

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