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EDUCATION Eliana Lee-Gibbons, Industry Liaison Manager in the Creative and Cultural Industries Faculty at the University of Portsmouth, describes her experiences in setting up placements and short-term internships in the Creative Industries to help students gain relevant work- experience. port.ac.uk/creativecareers Eliana Lee-Gibbons The theme of employability and career enhancing activities for undergraduates is very high in all Universities’ agenda, and Portsmouth has real ambitious targets; 100% of students engaging with career enhancing activities by 2020. The hope is it will guarantee that our students will gain relevant work-experience that will enrich their careers. This is how I came to post as Industry Liaison Manager for this faculty. With a strong recruitment background and having worked for many years in the Employability department IT’S ALL ABOUT INDUSTRY PLACEMENTS of the University, I am truly passionate about the added value of commercial experience. This is a view that is shared amongst academics but surprisingly it’s a relative new concept for the creative industries, in comparison to other sectors. So the challenge was there: to convince our creative colleagues of the benefits of recruiting students. No one will argue that an extra pair of hands will come handy, especially during busy times. What most companies seem to struggle with is the idea of offering well-structured work- experience. It’s no longer about bringing someone in to make the tea and ‘benefiting’ from the experience of just being there! It’s about training a new generation, transferring relevant skills and inspiring students to pursue a career worth working hard for. We want students to gain real life experiences that will allow them to make the right choices for their future, whilst keeping the industry fresh and innovative. How do companies benefit? Having a placement student (or an intern) offers many opportunities for the host company: • Extra resource with additional skills to tackle projects otherwise put on the backburner 36 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 116 AUGUST 2016 • Injection of new ideas in an area where you have a skills gap • Chance to reduce the workload of staff so they can take on more complicated and skilled work • Completion of specific tasks • Opportunity to give a potential employee a thorough trial without obligation • Awareness of the latest research through closer links to the University • Cost-effective method of overcoming temporary staff shortages, particularly during busy periods • Reduction of recruitment and training costs when placement students are employed after they graduate It could even give them the chance to diversify into a different area of their business (the placement creates a ‘breathing space’), or at the very least allows an SMB a chance to take a bird’s eye view of their business, after all, working consistently at the coalface can create blindness. Engage with us. The process is easier than most people think. We offer free consultancy and support throughout, starting with identifying where the potential needs for the company might be, all the way through to successful candidate selection. Work-Experience opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, and we are happy to discuss all requirements; from short-term experiences, summer internships or year long industrial placements (36 weeks ‘actually’). Our experience so far has been very positive and we have seen an increased interest in the industry (and students) to take up placements; however there is more to be done. And what about the students? How do they gain? Ask any course leader of a specialist course and they will tell you that a placement, long or short, transforms their whole experience of work and learning. Students return from a placement enriched and invigorated from an experience that truly shapes their future outlook on the industries they are facing. We note with keen interest the initiative that KitPlus have established via their website - the opportunity to post a CV and get valuable exposure. This is truly vital and we hope all students will grab hold of it and reap the benefits. For more details or if you wish to chat with the Creative Careers Team call or email on: 023 9284 5181 firstname.lastname@example.org