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17 Apr 2014

A work placement project offered by the University of Chester has helped one Information Systems Management graduate, with minimal work experience, along the right path to a successful career.

Jacob Davis, 21 from Derby, had only ever worked in a chip shop for a matter of months when he graduated from the University. Recognising that he needed some more experience under his belt if he was to get a job in the competitive world of IT, staff in the University’s Careers and Employability Department pointed him in the direction of the UNIte with Business project.

UNIte with Business is a regional ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) project,  that provides paid opportunities for students to work in businesses on meaningful projects which are relevant to their studies, skills, knowledge and experience. As well as adding experience and expertise to a CV, the scheme also gives students the chance to impress prospective employers.

Jacob spent his six-week placement with a company called Lawyer Checker, working as a Digital Marketing Assistant. He said: “The placement gave me an opportunity to get a taster of what ‘work’ was like, and gave me more of an idea of how I wanted my career to shape up. After the experience, I walked out motivated, and ready to pursue a career.”

Just four weeks after finishing his placement, Jacob was successful in applying for a job at Rolls-Royce, working as Technical Support for a new eBusiness System which has recently been implemented at the company which manufactures aircraft engines and power systems.

He added: “I am now in a career which I enjoy, with an idea of where I want to be in five years. I don’t believe that I would be where I am now if it weren’t for the UNIte with Business scheme. It really gave me an insight into work and the basics of business and helped me to build on existing skills and develop new ones.

“I would say to final year students or recent graduates who are anything like me, not knowing which direction to take, UNIte with Business is a great way to start. I sat down with Les George who runs the scheme, who discovered my strengths and challenges and suggested potential opportunities available to me.  At first I wasn’t keen, but I was finally encouraged to attend a few interviews.

“After that first interview, that’s when I saw things differently. I realised why I went to University; I realised that you don’t have to have every skill and qualification on that job description; I realised that if you have the enthusiasm and ambition to be something, then you’re already there. What I’m trying to say is get out there, try things, test yourself, you’ll be surprised.”

For more information about the UNIte with Business scheme, which is open to all final year students and graduates located in the North West, visit: www.chester.ac.uk/unitewithbusiness or e-mail: lesley.george@chester.ac.uk