When I first entered into the Business Administration program at Cambrian College, I had originally only applied for the two year Diploma program. I had thought about doing the third year to gain the Advanced Diploma and additional experience, but doing another year of school was not something that I was particularly keen on. Halfway through my second year, I sat in on a presentation from the third year students to gain some insight on what they had learned during their third year. It wasn’t until that presentation took place that I realized that an 8-week field placement was part of the curriculum. I listened to what the presenters had to say, and it was all so positive. They stated that they had learned so much and that they would encourage anyone to continue on to the third year. One gentleman mentioned that he had completed the two year program some years prior and was forced to return for the third year because his employment wouldn’t allow him to move into a position of management without the additional education and experience. After some thought and discussion with my parents, I decided to continue on. All that I can say about my third year placement was that it was absolutely worth it. It was worth the extra year of schooling, it was worth the extra year of homework, and it was worth the extra year of not being able to work full-time.
Completing the work placement offered me plenty of benefits for progressing into my career here at Plan A. I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to complete a placement for many reasons, some of which I will explain.
Gain Valuable Experience
During my 8-week placement I learned more about the Human Resources field than I did sitting through three years of classroom lectures. The information that I had learned in class proved to be relevant and useful throughout my placement, but having the opportunity to put my education and knowledge into practice made all the difference. I was able to see where certain topics that I had learned about in class were relevant to the field. I would often sit through classes that made me think, “When am I ever going to use this?” and the placement opportunity helped me see the purpose.
Employers love seeing on resumes that applicants have experience in their field prior to hiring them as well. “Previous experience” translates to “free training” for employers. Experience gives anyone an advantage over those who don’t have any.
Develop Your Skills
I already mentioned the fact that you will gain experience in your chosen field, but placements also give you the opportunity to grow on and improve your current skills, such as interpersonal skills, working with a team, adaptability and much more. No one is perfect, but practice makes perfect. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn, grow and make mistakes in a supportive learning environment. The more you practice, expand and focus on improving your skills, the better and stronger an employee you will become!
Gain Insight into the Role
Having the opportunity to work alongside people who work in your chosen career gives you the chance to ask questions about the position: “What’s something that you learned early on in your career that you still remember and practice today? Do you have any advice for someone like me who’s just starting out?” Use mentorship to your advantage whenever you have the opportunity to.
My placement also confirmed that Human Resources is where I am meant to be. Throughout my studies I always worried that dealing with the public day after day would become too tiring and, although it is tiring and sometimes difficult, I learned that it is what I love to do. If you complete your placement and realize that that type of a position isn’t what you’re passionate about, you have time to change your mind. Employers notice that as well. If a student completes a placement in their field and begins actively looking for a job in that field, it shows that they truly enjoy what they do.
Establish Relationships with Possible Employers
At first, the one and only reason that I chose to complete the third year in the Business Administration program was to gain experience in the field of Human Resources. The thought of gaining employment with Plan A hadn’t crossed my mind at first, but it came shortly after. Organizations often request to have placement students when they know that they will be expanding and looking for future employees. This opens a door for opportunity! If your placement was enjoyable and you could see yourself as an employee within the company, why not ask for the opportunity to speak with management about joining their team? They have had time to judge your work ethic and skill set and they were given the opportunity to train you at no cost. They will know their answer before even meeting with you.