This summer a total of 26 Engineering and 22 IT students from Northern Regional College will complete a Career Ready paid internship with 38 different employers.
Gemma Goodrich, Business and IT Career Ready manager at the College, says the Career Ready experience is ‘win win’ for everyone – the College, students and employers.
“The College has developed very strong links with a growing network of employers. This means lecturers are able to keep up to date with what employers are looking for when recruiting. We’re also kept informed of changes in the workplace so can give our students the latest information about local employment and training opportunities.
“The programme can have a transformational effect on students who benefit enormously from the one on one mentoring and masterclasses. During the internship, they’ve an opportunity to see the relevance and practical application of what they are being taught and its impact on business. In addition, the paid summer internship can often led to part-time or even full time employment.”
Amy Chan from Ballymena – who was runner up for 2018 UK Career Ready STEM Student of the Year - is now employed by Plotbox. Other students have been sponsored by their placement employer to continue with their education to degree level.
Gemma continued: “Career Ready is a competitive process with only the top students selected and because it’s extracurricular, students who put themselves forward are totally dedicated. This gives employers an opportunity to identify talented students who meet their skill requirements, as potential employees.”
Bill Watson, who coordinates the Career Ready Engineering programme says Northern Regional College is totally committed to the Career Ready programme and has the largest number of Career Ready students of any college or school across Northern Ireland.
“A number of employers have provided students with an opportunity to ‘earn as they learn’ by offering an alternative route to going to university to get a degree by paying the total cost or making a significant contribution to help the student study part time and do a Foundation Degree or Higher Level Apprenticeship at their local Further Education college.”
Former Career Ready Engineering students being sponsored by their employer to do a part time Foundation Degree in Engineering at Northern Regional College include Thomas Cavanagh (K-Tex Automation, Maghera); Sean Coyle and Mark OKane (TES Cookstown); Sam McDonald (Maine Surface Finishing, Coleraine); Peter McMullan and Alex O’Boyle (Ryobi Aluminium Castings, Carrickfergus).