Industrial placement is an integral part of the learning process within Ulster Business School undergraduate programmes.
The placement process is invaluable to students and placement employers alike.
Employers from micro to large private organisations and public sector providers can benefit from new knowledge, skills and approaches placement students can introduce to their organisations during a year-long placement.
Placement provides a cost effective option for businesses to recruit undergraduates in all business disciplines including marketing, advertising, human resources, accounting and tourism and hospitality.
An organisation that recently engaged with the placement process is Swifts Supervalu and the benefits they achieved as a result of their placement student were beyond their expectations. Swifts Supervalu is owned by the Swift family and is the largest employer in Lisnaskea town. The family also have 2 other sites – one in Roslea and one in Enniskillen – making this an example of a very successful homegrown small business provider and a valued partner in the placement process with the Ulster Business School.
In September 2010 Nikita McGoldrick started the BSc Hons Accounting and Marketing programme which included a placement year during the academic year 2012-2013. Nikita became an important part of the business during the placement year. She undertook the role of Marketing and Product Developer. ‘She helped increase sales in our ‘Food To Go’ by 16.4% making us a formidable force in the ‘Food to Go’ market’, (Darren Given, Manager at Swifts Supervalu).
In the role Nikita helped rebrand the department and in doing so helped rebrand other sites with a brand that is now recognised throughout the country. Due to the involvement with the placement student the store went from strength to strength increasing overall sales in a declining market.
Darren indicted that ‘our work gained local and national accreditation in the industry as we picked up numerous awards. Particularly focusing on Nikita’s work helped us gain the NI Deli of the Year, Fermanagh Retailer of the Year and Irish Training Initiative of the Year’ in 2013’.
Nikita is now employed by Swifts Supervalu on a Marketing/Development and consulting role where she is creating an even stronger, sustainable brand identity. She is part of the team responsible for creating a brand that will lead to the company to extend and develop their product offering and presence.
The company realizes that their achievements in terms of productivity, efficiency and improvement have been directly as a result of the employment of Nikita through the placement process. This also acted as a catalyst for the company to consider developments and changes to other processes and activities within the company.
Dr Laura Bradley, Department of International Business, reiterated the contribution Nikita made to the company during her placement year adding that ‘Nikita has really shown the value of the placement in terms of developing a student on a personal and professional level and she has epitomizes the value companies can accrue through engaging with placement students whereby ‘real’ benefits such as cost savings, efficiencies, innovations and product developments are frequent tangible outputs experienced by other placement providers’.
Any employers who wish to find out more about the placement process and how this could fit with business goals and objectives can contact Dr Laura Bradley, Ulster Business School (email [email protected] or telephone 028 71675324).