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The Employability and Careers team at Ulster is currently delivering bespoke employability support to 750 students from the Ulster Business School, which aims to increase their confidence and resilience around securing yearlong placement opportunities. The University has long recognised the importance of yearlong placements in the development of students’ employability and career readiness. In addition, institutional research shows that those students who complete a placement are more likely to progress into the graduate job market.

A key element of this support has involved inviting placement employers into the University to promote their opportunities face-to-face with students. This engagement has taken a number of approaches including informal support sessions, employer fairs and talks as part of their course timetable. Lidl and local engineering firm Craigmore took part promoting their opportunities to students during a timetabled class. During this session, around 60 students heard from the respective employers about their operations, placement opportunities, and recruitment assessment process. There was also an opportunity for the students to pose questions in both a small group and one-to-one format.

Business Studies student Megan McCoppin commented on how having face-to-face interaction with employers boosted her confidence and desire to apply for and secure placement positions:

It was great to see the face behind the business and get a real feel for the working environment and the organisation's goals. This really encouraged me to apply for a placement that would not have attracted my attention through an online advertisement!”

Craigmore, commented on the benefits of engaging with the students in this way:

“We found it particularly helpful to engage with the students in this way as it provided us with an opportunity to promote the roles through an informal approach and assess their interest and suitability. We have been very impressed with the calibre of applicants and  recommend other organisations to engage with Ulster”

The Employability and Careers team will be developing more opportunities for employers to engage with students in their timetabled classes, please get in touch with Glenda Martin if you would be interested in a similar opportunity.