After a highly successful 2018/19 academic year, ESTnetNG has renewed its Year in Industry partnership with Cardiff University School of Computer Science and Informatics.
The ESTnetNG Year in Industry brings together technology businesses operating in Wales with the brightest and best students. It allows students to develop vital commercial and business acumen to help prepare them for the world of work, while also giving tech businesses in Wales access to highly promising new talent. ESTnetNG uses connections, disruption and alternative thinking to differentiate itself, fostering a collaborative environment between students, academia and business.
“We use ESTnet’s expertise and contacts in the local business community to make help our students more commercially aware,” said Dr Catherine Teehan, placements officer at Cardiff University School of Computer Science and Informatics. “We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of students choosing to stay in Wales after their degree or choosing to do their placement in Cardiff or south Wales. Before our relationship with ESTnet, about 75% of students did their placements in London and along the M4. Now we’re in a position where 78% of students do their placements in Wales.”
Dani Vencz, a Cardiff student, took part in the Year in Industry 2018/19 academic year, at global insurance risk company Atradius in Cardiff Bay. He told us: “It was really crucial for me to find the right placement. ESTnet helped me find the right place and took the pressure off my shoulders. I had a quick chat with my mentor about what I was looking for, and what my skills are – and they found me a match. That’s the best way I could describe ESTnet – a matchmaker. The modules next year are pretty similar to the things I’ve learned at Atradius. For instance, machine learning, chatbots and artificial intelligence – I’ve already done them and it’s given me a head start.”
Callen Gibbs (above) was part of the Year In Industry pilot year in 2016, and has since gone on to be an integral member of the team at Barry-based cyber security firm Capital Network Solutions. “We recruit a lot of graduates, but this programme benefits us as Callen has already had a year in industry, working for a range of companies. That means he’s picked up a lot of experience, and can bring ideas here," said Mark Edwards, director of cyber security at Capital Network Solutions.
Callen said: “The added value from an industrial placement through ESTnet is that additional support you get… you get a better coverage of what areas there are to work in and when you go back to university to finish your degree you’re in a better place to know what you want to do with your degree once you’ve graduated.”
As well as assisting with securing placements for students, ESTnetNG runs, fast-paced, unique networking events likes Fishbowls and Blind Dates for students and businesses to get to know each other.
Ji Yung (above), who is studying IT management at Cardiff University found her placement at Atradius via one of the events. "You can get to know someone in a few minutes, and they can dig in to who you are.... I've been putting academic theories into practice, learning how to communicate with different people and how to be confident in myself,” she said.
Joshua Wong, also on a placement at Atradius said: "I like the ESTnetNG events as they don’t have a formal feel. They’re nice and short, and there are other people around who are also nervous. First impressions count, but the employers also know it’s informal – I would definitely recommend it."
If you would like to learn more about ESTnetNG’s Year In Industry and forthcoming events, please contact Allison Pinney-Collis, who leads the programme.