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Durham University

Colleges & wider student experience

Student news

Placement Year Conference success

(8 December 2020)

In November, over 400 current undergraduate students from across the University attended a new flagship placement event, which gave all attendees the opportunity to find out more about business placement opportunities available to them.

Alex McNinch, the Business School’s Placement Manager, explains all about it below:

Due to current circumstances, we decided in early summer to make the Business School’s on-campus annual Placement Showcase a virtual event. Over 20 employers networking with a few hundred students in person, was not going to feasible.

Our new style event gave the team an opportunity to create something different and aim bigger. The result was a full week of employability activities for the University’s first ever virtual business placement conference.

Each day was themed to attract potential current students looking for different opportunities. We kicked off with an internally led sessions on ‘It’s not too late to find a placement’, confidence building, as well as professional and digital etiquette, all of which were incredibly popular and in fact the best attended sessions of the week.

Tuesday and Wednesday were led by employers and these sessions focused on job application tips and career insight. Companies represented giving opportunities to Business School students across the two days included Amazon, HP Enterprise, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley, NatWest, RSM, Sony and VW Group. Then on Thursday there was a series of practise interviews lined up and the week came to a close with a panel featuring students currently out on placement this year.

The conference was a resounding success, not only were there over 400 attendees across the week, there were more than 4,000 hits to the events website on Sharepoint. Even if our usual campus activity returns in 2021, there will definitely be a Placement Year Conference with elements of virtual activity and a mini-website to host relevant content.

Without the pandemic, we may have never looked to harness the technology available to us or not have necessarily utilised it to its full potential. Developing this event has enabled us to widen the appeal of placement opportunities to students and given employers a choice of avenues to access the right students for their opportunities.

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