Winner of Placement of the Year 2018
Thursday the 27th of September saw us crown our annual e-Placement Scotland Placement of the Year awards winners in front of nearly 600 industry relevant guests at the ScotlandIS event ScotSoft2018.
All three companies who were shortlisted (first-time users of e-Placement Scotland's undergraduate recruitment services) submitted fantastic applications, showcasing their considerable investment in growing and nurturing tech talent through their student placements. In all cases, the students were able to make valuable contributions in solving real-life business problems during their placements, benefitting the companies, their customers, and of course the students’ career development. This made deciding on the overall winner a very difficult task for the judges.
Gold Winner – Harry Nicholls, NHS Highland
Harry Nicholls, BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology student at Robert Gordon University, together with NHS Highland, were awarded the Gold Award, in recognition of an outstanding student placement.
Harry initially started as an Assistant Business Intelligence Analyst working within the Business Intelligence Team writing report specifications, developing reports and working on development projects to provide enhanced data analytics to the wider organisation. After a successful 6 months working as an integral part of this team, Harry was seconded out to the Planning and Performance department for half of his week. Within this department he was tasked with automating a long list of manual, operational tasks resulting in a saving of 16 weeks of man hours per year equating to around £10,000 in recurring annual savings.
Sarah Smith from NHS Highland said the following about Harry and his placement:
“The industrial placement programme has been invaluable for NHS Highland this year, not only in making annual savings of over £10,000 as well as saving on contractor costs of over £10,000, but also in bringing fresh enthusiasm to the department. The development of the Information Reporting Catalogue would not have been as successful had we not assigned it to our placement student – this gave a fixed time frame for it to be completed and Harry was keen to drive the project forward.”
Harry described his placement experience:
“I have learned a lot and broadened my base of experience and communication skills substantially, which can only help me in my final year of studies. My placement has provided me with insights and learnings that have enabled me to choose business change management as the IT tool that I will be developing as part of my final year (BSc) Honors Project at RGU. I believe that this placement will have a very positive impact on my employability. I have demonstrated my theoretical and practical knowledge through solving real-life business problems which are now benefiting thousands of NHS Highland employees. During this placement experience I have acquired new skills: report development; business intelligence practices; methodologies; website development; change management; presenting and communication techniques which are all relevant within both public and private sector. “
Silver Winner – Jamie McCulloch, Time2dine
Our Silver Award winner was Jamie McCulloch, a Masters of Software Engineering student from Heriot Watt University, along with his placement provider, Time2Dine. Time2Dine is a revolutionary new concept for restauranteurs and diners. The company is aiming to significantly improve the restaurant experience for people dining out, while at the same time help restaurant owners use new technologies to decrease waste and increase sales.
Jamie described his experience:
“This placement has definitely changed me as a person. Having never worked within an office environment, or within the computing industry, this has been a massive learning experience for me. I have become more confident within myself in terms of expressing ideas and concerns, and also within my own abilities at software development. It has taken a bit of adjustment to get used to working in this environment, but I finally feel like I am in a position to offer insight and help to my colleagues. This placement I feel has definitely improved my employability, or at least my confidence in terms of getting employed after graduating. As mentioned before, working in a start - up is a great learning experience. It allowed me to get hands on within a company very quickly and contribute to the project faster than another company would have. I appreciate the trust and help my colleagues have given me, and I hope that I have contributed some useful additions to the project. I have learned so much more by being on the front line within this project than I have in four years of university and, while that was a very good starting point, I feel as though this experience has taught me a lot more.”
Carolyn Mandache, CEO of Time2Dine described using a student placement:
“As a startup company with limited budget, placements have been a good option for us, as we do not have to pay the high salary expected of someone fully qualified and with experience. Placements do require more input from members of our team to support students with less experience, but we are pleased to be able to contribute to the future job prospects of the individual, and to watch their learning progress. The work which Jamie is doing is vital for the progression of our business, and will make the customer experience better for restaurant clients.”
Bronze Winner – Matthew Lynch, My Server Guy
Matthew Lynch, a BSc (Hons) student in Web Design & Development from Edinburgh Napier University, along side his placement employer, My Server Guy, secured the Bronze Award. My Server Guy offer bespoke website solutions which allows companies to have IT Support and hosting guidance on demand.
Matthew described his experience:
“My experience on my placement at My Server Guy will greatly increase the knowledge, personal attributes, and skills that will be attractive for employers. During the 3 mouth placement, I have been working independently and as part of a team. I have had the experience of working in groups on assessments. Many companies are built on teams and this will reinforce the need to learn to work well with other people and value each other’s’ strengths and contribution. I have also been communicating, over Slack, with Lennart and Mikkel which is important to be succinctly both in writing and orally. Other skills and experiences that will impact on my employability is planning, organising and time management. Many times during the placement I had learned to juggle different priorities and work on several projects simultaneously. I feel excited about the prospects going forward as it’s important to acknowledge that the company that you intern for may also offer potential work or employability after the placement has finished.”
Gillian McGlynn, Operations Manager, My Server Guy said the following:
“As we are a small business, we don’t have such a generous cash flow to recruit more experienced staff so in using the internship pathway, it allows us to grow our business, whilst educating students and it enables them to put their theory into practise. Matthew brings a different set of skills to the team, he is a front-end developer which is the perfect compliment to Mikkel’s back-end skills. Previously we would outsource design work as myself and Mikkel are not experienced in this area but now we can support websites from A to Z with design, development and delivery. Recruiting Matthew has rounded off the team at My Server Guy.”
Commendation – Daniel Costa, Pulsion Technology
The quality of entries for the awards this year was so high this year, that we also awarded a commendation to Daniel Costa, with his placement provider, Pulsion Technology.
Daniel, a student from the University of Glasgow, said:
“My short time with Pulsion has greatly changed my outlook on the world of work and the field of computing science. Having my opinion valued and finding my skills useful played a crucial part in my growth as a professional and person. Furthermore, the real work experience, what I learned and the network I created are unreplaceable and I look forward to discovering how it will help me in the future. “
John McGuire, Founder of Pulsion Technology and long-standing supporter of the e-Placement Scotland programme, described the value of placements:
“We have taken interns from e-Placement for a number of years. We have always seen it as valuable to take on interns for a few reasons. The first is that it helps with getting work done which we may not have resource available to complete. It builds a relationship which can lead to the intern becoming a future employee of the company and, finally, it prepares future graduates for ‘hitting the ground running’ when they leave university and go into the commercial world which helps the overall skills shortage.”
About e-Placement Scotland
e-Placement Scotland was established to close the computing skills gap by matching able students with high-quality work placements across Scotland. Since it’s creation, the programme, run by Edinburgh Napier University and the trade body for the digital technologies industry ScotlandIS, and funded by the Scottish Funding Council, has created over 2000 paid student placements.
e-Placement Scotland director, Sally Smith, thanked all the companies who entered the awards and offered congratulations to all the winners.