Maria Oyegbile is a BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems student who joined Edinburgh Napier University in 2014 as a direct entrant to second year after completing a HND in Interactive Media. Maria is currently in her third year but is out on placement for 15 months. "I chose to find a placement because of the advantages that come with it especially in gaining experience in a real work environment. I had never worked in an IT role and I thought this would be a good chance for me to develop myself in preparation for my future career in Project Management."
Maria is currently on work placement with Caledonian Produce which is part of the Bakkavor Group, located in Bo’ness, West Lothian. Caledonian Produce specialises in prepared foods like potatoes, vegetables, side salads and ready meals among others, It's only client is Marks and Spencers. Maria continues, "Caledonian Produce employs over 1500 employees and is the biggest company I have ever worked for."
"I am the site IT contact, supported by the Group Central Information Systems team in Spalding. My role is very varied which makes it more interesting. It ranges from installation of software and hardware to networking, sorting out user errors in person or via proxy, maintenance of IT equipment like printers, scanners, phones and projectors, project management (my favourite), purchasing of IT equipment, working with third party contractors to resolve user issues, closely working with group IT to resolve issues, training staff in using IT equipment, writing user manuals and carrying out the company IT induction, setting up user company mobiles and desk phones and changing the back-up tapes among others!."
"This experience has been very rewarding and beneficial, I have learnt so much in this period."
"It has helped me to better understand what I studied at University before placement and now I have both theoretical and practical knowledge. Having gone for the placement without much knowledge of IT systems, I have been equipped with a vast knowledge. I now understand things like the Intranet, Extranet and Internet even more after having studied them in one of my second year modules (Enterprise Systems).
My biggest challenge was networking given that I had never done it before. I didn’t think there would come a day when I would ever get it. Now I can do this in my sleep and I actually enjoy it. Often users move from office to office or new ones come in and I have to connect them to the company network so they are able to access the systems. This is a skill I have picked up during my time at Caledonian Produce."
"I have gained confidence in dealing with various individuals and groups of individuals on various levels. I have worked on different projects like the file and print server migration, Installation of Internet Explorer 11, upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, installation of programs on to Virtual servers among others with different managers, individuals and teams. I have had to communicate with them in person, on the phone and also via email and my confidence has grown immensely."
"I have learnt so much throughout my placement and I believe the skills I have acquired will help me secure a good job after my studies."
"I have learnt how to be professional, deal with various people, address a large group of people, chair meetings, prepare agendas, and send out minutes among others."
Maria goes on to describe the process of applying for work placement opportunities, "At university, work placements are well advertised by all involved. I remember attending placement workshops which encouraged me to apply and jobs were well promoted on the university site and also on e-Placement Scotland. I got support structuring my CV and also interview skills and technique support was offered.
When out on placement, I was assigned a tutor for the duration, Gemma Webster. She has been to my work place to see my manager and myself. During the first meeting, I was asked if I had any concerns or even if I needed to ask anything. It was good to know that I have someone I can discuss any work issues with if I needed to.
I also have support from Moodle, the university site. There is lots of information that has been put on Moodle to help with the weekly log, portfolio and reports. This information was helpful especially during the initial stages of creating my web log.
On site I am fully supported by my manager who is very easy to talk to and work with. We regularly have meetings to catch up on any issues or projects that are happening."
"She has also asked me to stay on “forever” with Caledonian Produce because of how well we get on and how I conduct myself and carry out my job."
Finally, as always, Maria summed up her experience in 3 words.
"Fantastic, hard work and worthwhile."
You can look for paid work placement opportunities in IT at www.e-placementscotland.com.