Year in employment: a balancing act

The Government buildings in Aberystwyth sometimes offer a year in employment to students

October’s Feature asked students to tell Aber Student Media about any advice, work experience, years in employment and years abroad they may have had as part of their course.

Employability is of course one of the main reasons we are all at university. We’ve all read the leaflets, heard the talks from the Careers office and possibly looked up options on line, but we thought it best to let you hear from people who’ve been there and done it.   

MY FLATMATE Tom is currently working as an Evaluation Analyst during a year in industry at the Welsh Government Offices in Aberystwyth. I have been back here for the final year of my degree for three weeks. During that time I have learnt to mentally switch off any time I hear the words ‘placement’, ‘Welsh Government’ or ‘Rural Development Plan’. Enthusiasm, it would seem, is not as infectious as they make out.

I’ll get the useful information out of the way here: Tom didn’t come to University intending to take a year out but decided during first year to give it a try. He found his placement through the University Career’s Service website and has found it both relevant to his course and useful for his future career prospects.

But here’s my spin on what Tom’s year in employment really means: Yes, it’s given him new found purpose and direction. Yes, he’s gained invaluable skills. Yes, his dissertation (based on his work placement) is going to greatly benefit from his networking. But quite frankly I’m fed up of hearing about how amazing it is and I don’t care about how good it’ll look on his CV.

A year in employment is a fantastic opportunity. We’ve all been told the benefits of work experience enough times. If anything I’m probably a little bit jealous of Tom. But my message to anyone thinking of following in his footsteps is: don’t forget about everyone you’ve left behind, don’t spend all your time talking about your new, perfect life and don’t flash your hard earned wages around unless you plan on getting in the next round and partying like we’re back in Freshers’!