By Deni Cermojev

Industrial Placement Programme

Me and Joseph Peacock (right) with Henry VIII at a work event.

I started my one-year industrial placement with Xerox in the London suburb of Uxbridge on June 22, 2017, as a digital marketing executive at 8:30 a.m. By lunchtime, I had personally tweeted through the XeroxUK Twitter handle three times, sent out a social media content newsletter to over 100 recipients, and been introduced to the corporate marketing and communications team based in the U.S.

The long-standing idea that students like me are simply coffee makers and paper pushers has not been true for years. Millennials and Gen Zers are completing real jobs with real responsibilities now; they just happen to be young students at the time.

In the United Kingdom, university students in their penultimate year are able to apply for industrial placements with companies all over the world for a full year of work. This counts as their third year and, once their placement is done, they go back to university to complete their fourth and final year.

“The placement program is an unbelievably invaluable asset,” Rhiannon Thomas, Entry Programs Specialist, explained. “Not many 21 year olds can say they’ve had a full year’s worth of work in a global and corporate environment with real responsibilities, and a clear impact from the start.”

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Real responsibilities

Emma Walker is studying marketing at University of Southampton. This year, she is a marketing and events executive for our Global Experiential Marketing team. Within her first three months on placement, she had experienced the initial planning, event set-up and break-down, as well as providing constant end-to-end support of the INKjet-setters Summit 2017, a global, annual Xerox marketing event in Marseille, France.

“If it wasn’t for Emma, I would be completely lost,” Jane Campbell, Event Operations Manager, said. “If she didn’t have to go back to university, I’d keep her on full-time.”

“If a recruiter from an events management standpoint were to compare Emma’s CV to an average university student’s after their standard three years and minimal work experience,” Joanna Adams, Associate Recruiter, explained. “Emma would be at an incredibly huge advantage.”

Not to mention the wonderful reference that Jane will provide.

“Industrial placement programs are designed to give students support, development opportunities, and maximum exposure to the corporate environment,” Joanna pointed out. “Students get involved in the very heart of the business from the onset.”

Industrial Placement Programme

Pavan and two Xerox students (Joe left and Justin right) at a careers fair.

All of these aspects are a goldmine for a potential recruiter. Especially for companies that have graduate schemes, which are similar to industrial placements. A three-year program, the graduate scheme is designed for young people with Bachelor’s degrees, and helps them grow into specialist roles.

“Students who have previously completed an industrial placement are at an incredible advantage when applying for these positions,” Rhiannon said.

Indispensable experience

Pavan Lalli, an internal communications executive, is studying business and law at the University of Hertfordshire. She helped her manager compile the Xerox Global Citizenship Report for 2017. “She’s proof read it so many times, she can pretty much recite it off by heart,” her manager, Communications Specialist, Jenny Newell wryly observed while poring over the latest draft. “If she were to apply for a communications position, her application would stand out above the others, and give her a greater chance of being offered the role.”

The current class of students will finish their industrial placements in a few months. Emma is currently working on two events for our graphic communications customers – one in Warsaw, the other in Hamburg. Pavan has begun the process of validating information for Xerox’s Corporate Annual Report. Presently, I’m curating content for the executive leadership team in the U.K.

Safe to say, each of us will walk away with CVs that bounce.

Editor’s note: Deni Cermojev works at our Uxbridge office as a digital marketing executive in our Global Marketing and Communications organization. Deni is pursuing a degree in information management and business at Loughborough University.