Development & Alumni Relations Office 

BECOME A PLACEMENT PROVIDER – VOLUNTEERS’ WEEK  Hands coloured purple, green, blue and orange surrounding image of three placement students le, one male)

04 June 2021

The provision of student placements is the focus of Volunteers’ Week 2020 (1- 7 June) today, as we continue to examine the role graduates play in the life of Queen’s, thanking those who currently provide important work placements and giving a ‘shout out’ to others who might be in a position to do so.

Across a broad range of volunteering areas, this week we are concentrating on some of the many hundreds of graduates who, during the last 12 months, have given the gift of time in support of the University. You can find out more about volunteering as an alumni here.

Today, we are featuring placement providers. Work-related learning opportunities and placements are hugely valuable to students at Queen's. During Volunteers’ Week 2021, find out how you, as a graduate, can give back to the University and become a placement provider.

“Work-related learning and preparation enhance the student experience and allow students to realise their potential,” said Natasha Sharma, the University’s Alumni Relations Volunteer Manager.

“Placements enable students to realise their latent impact, giving them a better understanding of their potential career. As a result, and thanks to the many graduates who help arrange these placements, Queen’s students are empowered to enter and succeed in graduate job markets,” she added.

Work-related study modules are integrated into academic programmes and are compulsory on many pathways. Most students across campus will have engaged in some industry-related learning during their time with at Queen’s, and for most it is an invaluable part of their degree. 

Lauren Keenan, a BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management graduate (2018) is an Actuarial Analyst at Allianz Insurance in London and originally joined the company as a placement student: “On the London Finance and Business Study Tour with Queen’s, I got a real sense of the buzz around the city. I thought it was something I would like to be a part of and so I choose London as my placement year.

Staff in Queen’s Work-related Learning Offices support employers to engage with current students across all faculties and work with students to connect them to available opportunities and to create work-related modules for them to participate in learning. This can range from one week placement, to a summer internship, or to a full-time paid placement during the academic year.

"I settled in quickly as there were lots of social events and fellow alumni to meet,” continued Lauren. “The Placement Office at Queen’s kept in touch with me and my placement provider, so I always felt connected to campus.

“Having graduated with a first-class honours’ degree, I was delighted to secure a permanent job with my placement provider, returning to Allianz Insurance as an Actuarial Analyst. I look forward to welcoming new placement students in the future!”

Work-based projects give students a chance to apply their academic knowledge to real life scenarios. Queen’s offers virtual and onsite projects for groups or individual students. You can meet our students through guest lectures, employer-led workshops and at annual careers fairs.

Aveen Connolly, a BSc Actuarial Science (2016) graduate, represented her employer, Irish Life, at our most recent careers’ fair. “What a great day we had at the Queen’s Actuary and Finance fair hosted by the Queen’s Management School Placement Office!” said Aveen.

“We came to represent opportunities within the Irish Life group. In particular, it was great to have my brother Christopher there, who last year was on the other side of the stand job-hunting!”

From Finance to Psychology, students across our programmes can take part in a work-related placement.

With Queen’s ranked in the top 140 educational institutions in the world for graduate prospects (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020), staying connected to the University as a volunteer placement provider can also have many benefits for our alumni volunteers.

100% of all placement providers on the Insight employability programme for Psychology this year would recommend the programme to other employers. One placement provider gave the following feedback regarding their placement student:

“The student was very receptive to working through Microsoft teams which was beneficial to us and as the placement was research based, the need to meet face to face or to visit sites within the organisation was reduced. This worked well for both us and the student.”

Another provider explained “The student brought a fresh insight into perspective on how students coped with lockdown last year. We are now able to use some of the strategies they highlighted, to help support our pupils during this current lockdown.”

And a third went on to say “As we didn’t know what to expect in our return to school in September, we found the knowledge of the student about anxiety the children may be experiencing to be very welcome. We are very keen to use the programme again as it was such a useful tool to us this year.”

The University can develop bespoke employability programmes to help you find your future employees. In addition to the obvious benefits enjoyed by students, placement providers – who are invaluable to the University – help to promote their businesses in the local and international community.

“For our alumni volunteers,” added Natasha Sharma, “volunteering can also be a really great way to develop their own transferable skills. It can help broaden and expand their personal networks, and in most cases it has a really positive impact on the individual’s mental health and wellbeing.

“And the more you volunteer – the more student placements you provide for example – the greater the buzz!” she concluded.

Those graduates in a position to offer placement opportunities in their organisations, or who might wish to arrange a company visit for current Queen’s students, can view one such recent visit to Morgan Stanley in London here.

For further details on becoming a work-related placement provider or to volunteer in any other way to support the University, please contact Queen’s Alumni Volunteering Manager, Natasha Sharma.

For general enquiries about this story or to submit a graduate news item, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen’s University Belfast.



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