Graduates praise value of industry experience at hired@UCB placement fair
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Graduates from University College Birmingham were back on campus seeking the next generation of students to take on valuable industry placements.
More than 30 companies were in attendance at a placement fair held by the University’s hired@UCB employability team.
The event, dedicated to students from The Business School and College of Food, saw employers spread across three floors of McIntyre House to talk with students about the development and training available through work placements.
And among the representatives in attendance were several former UCB students encouraging the current crop to follow in their footsteps.
BA Hospitality Business Management graduate Liz Burton, who is now General Manager at The Ivy Collection restaurant in Birmingham's Temple Row, revealed how going on placement during her course helped her gain the experience needed to start her career.
"I did my placement at a hotel in Dublin and it was my first time working away from home," said Liz. "It was an amazing experience for meeting new people, and I had to build a life in a new place which I think was really valuable.
"It gave me enough experience to get my first proper job out of university because I had actual experience on my CV and not just a degree.
"Several of our management team came through UCB and I know the calibre of the students here is high," she added. "Quite a few of our staff go to UCB now so we know we can potentially find some good people here."
Fellow ex-UCB student Simon Warren, who graduated in MA Culinary Arts Management and is now Restaurant Manager at The Ivy Temple Row, explained how a successful industry placement can open the door to a job opportunity at the same company.
"Students coming to work for you could be fantastic employees in the future," he said. "If a student had a successful placement and potential then, there could be a job available for them afterwards to go into.
Simon, who did his course placement at a hotel in Cyprus, added: "I know how beneficial placements can be for students and business because I went through it myself.
"Hospitality can be quite a testing environment and it's good to know what it's like before you get into it."
Other companies attending the event included the Eden Hotel Collection, represented by former UCB Hospitality Business Management student Ali Abdullahi.
"We've had UCB students on placement and part-time work before," said Ali, who currently works at the group's Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. "We look for people who are driven and self-motivated – the students we have from UCB are all driven and they’ve got that passion they need to work hard.
"They're enthusiastic and want to learn, so hopefully again we can find more passionate students who want to come and work for us.
"Placements give you a clear indication of what you could become potentially and how hard you have to work to be there. It gives you an idea of the reality of the work."
One current student who already knows the value of placement is Joshua Topkar. The second year BA Culinary Arts Management student secured a placement at Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa in Ireland with the help of the hired@UCB team.
"This was my first time working as a chef so I've gained a lot of practical and theoretical skills," said Joshua. "Plus I've learned how to work in a functioning kitchen."
Also in attendance at the placement fair were the likes of Marriott, Hilton, Whitworths, Holiday Inn, Jurys Inn and Mitchells & Butlers, while the hired@UCB placement team were on hand to assist students.
Find out more about our range of courses within the College of Food and The Business School.
For more information about our hired@UCB employability service, click here.