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Offering placements make business sense

Industry placements benefit not only university students by exposing them to real life working scenarios, but equally benefit the host organisation who has the opportunity to select eager individuals from an emerging talent pool and prime them for success whilst they deliver a fresh new dimension to the organisation.

At the time when a skills shortage is apparent in the global Energy Sector and qualified individuals are in high demand, offering placement opportunities to students could be an ideal cost-effective way to fill skills gaps within an organisation or department on a short term basis, potentially with the long term view of nurturing these keen individuals and offering them permanent positions upon graduation.

Students bring with them theory, skills and enthusiasm that can inject a boost to a specific project or day to day responsibilities of the business. Placements can last anywhere from eight weeks to a full year, with students being paid appropriately for their contribution.

KCA Deutag, one of the world's largest international drilling contractors, has just commenced its fifth year of employing third year placement students from Robert Gordon University (RGU), in Aberdeen, from a range of disciplines.
Louise Milner, HR Manager at KCA Deutag, acknowledges the benefit of the placement from both the company’s and student’s perspective, she said: "KCA Deutag embarked on the programme in order to attract high calibre candidates to fill a variety of roles within the company. The intention was to develop and retain placement students within the organisation. After five years of employing placement students from RGU, KCA Deutag boasts a strong working relationship with the university.”


KCA Deutag now employs seven full time graduates from RGU who formerly spent their placement year with the company.  A fresh group of 14 placement students have also recently commenced their placement with the energy contractor.

Not only does the international firm employ students for 48 weeks, but it also offers a Scholarship Award to one of the placements students each year.

Louise continued: "The scholarship is offered to reward high performing students and aims to encourage fresh talent to the company.

"Towards the end of their placement, each of the eight students who joined us in July 2011 were required to produce a report and deliver a presentation to three judges from within the company. The most outstanding student was awarded a scholarship of £2,500 to put towards their education and career development.”

This year’s scholarship recipient was Kendal Lovie (20) from Aberdeen, a Management with Human Resources student from RGU’s Aberdeen Business School. Kendal was presented with the winning cheque at a prize giving ceremony held at KCA Deutag HQ in front of her fellow 2011/2012 placement students, professors from Robert Gordon University, plus KCA Deutag placement mentors and staff.

Kendal said: "During my placement year I worked within the UK North Sea Training & HSE Department in the role of training administrator.   

"I was able to take the knowledge I learnt at university and expand this through practice allowing me to develop a number of skills, from people skills to self reliance.  My placement also allowed me to develop numerous specialist competencies; in particular I now have an enhanced understanding of the training requirements for various positions on an offshore platform and I understand how important training is in the offshore industry.

1.  "Winning the scholarship means so much to me and has given me the motivation to obtain a first class degree. I have put the scholarship money into a savings account and plan to use it to help fund a masters in Human Resources at RGU accredited by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), as I would like to build a career within Human Resources in the Oil & Gas industry.”

Further information about placement programmes at RGU can be found at http://www.rgu.ac.uk/business-services/student-placements