At Swansea University we try and provide as many opportunities for our students to gain as much industry experience during their time studying with us as possible. In Summer 2020 we came together from the College of Engineering, College of Science, School of Management, Swansea Employability Academy, and the Enterprise Team to introduce a Skills Industry Challenge.

The company involved in this project were Aspire2Be. Aspire 2Be (A2B) is a Learning Technology company, based in Wales, who use AI methodology to co-construct bespoke digital solutions for clients in Education, Sport and Business.

The Challenge

Due to the unprecedented times and the restrictions implemented during Covid-19 some of our students were limited with opportunities during the summer and lost out on valuable work experience due to the pandemic.

The Skills Industry Challenge involved students working virtually in a multi-disciplined team on a challenge provided by industry for three weeks on which they presented back on their solutions.

Students from disciplines including Engineering, Computer Science and Business were offered internships in Product Marketing over a three week period during summer 2020 to help market products, create bespoke databases and to explore prospective marketing opportunities.

Successful Outcomes

The Skills Industry Challenge provided an opportunity for our students to undertake virtual internships and gain valuable real-life interaction with businesses and continue to develop their skills during lock down.

Working digitally with industry and each other enhanced the opportunity for our students to work collaboratively and across departments and disciplines.

What they said

Samuel Fuller, Year 1 Software Engineering with a Year in Industry:

“I wanted to improve my CV by completing some formal work and secure a reference in order to make applying to jobs for my placement year easier. It’s a great way to learn and demonstrate soft skills like working and communicating with a team and presenting ideas back to a group.

“Overall it was a fun and enjoyable experience. Working with students from other fields was an interesting because I got some insight into how they approach the problems.

“Aspire2be were very friendly and helpful and we had many positive conversations. The tasks that were set were unorthodox for me as a computer science student which I found challenging but I managed to complete them.” 

Alex Dobbins, Year 2 Aerospace Engineering:

“I found working in a team with others from other disciplines good as it opens up different strengths in people due to their difference experiences. As an Engineering student, this internship/challenge was a bit different and it was orientated around marketing. However, it opens up different opportunities and experiences and I was able to apply the skills learned in my engineering degree to tackle the marketing tasks.

"Aspire2Be were also very friendly and helpful and were very organised and passionate about their company. I found working with people who were passionate about their job made the challenge much more interesting."

Weethy Kumar, Final Year MSc Management:

“We were working in a group of four and the tasks involved marketing and data analytics to work together and we co-ordinated our work through emails as we always met virtually.

“The task taught me multitasking (as I am writing my dissertation) and helped me with presentation skills. I could apply my marketing and strategy course module knowledge in a real world project. It really enhanced my analytical skills and taught me to be more focussed and detail orientated.

“The Aspire2Be Team were amazing and they provided us with lots of information, support and required database/software links. They were very approachable and enthusiastic and encouraged us as a team to deliver the results." 

Simon Pridham, Education Partner at Aspire2Be:

“Virtual working certainly has its advantages but can be challenging. However, any challenges during this four-week project were overcome by the four successful applicants being intuitive, being very proactive and by each showcasing an excellent range of skills to support Aspire 2Be and in particular, the marketing team within Aspire 2Be, to take the online learning platform, AspirEd to a much wider audience.” 

Kelly Jordan, Entrepreneurship Officer at Swansea University:

“We often hear that industry are looking for fresh, innovative ideas to develop their business model and solve problems, especially in times of such uncertainty.  An entrepreneurial mindset is something we are working to instil in our students by offering them opportunities like this where they work in multi-disciplinary groups resolving real world issues which companies face.” 

If you think your organisation could benefit from taking on a student placement please contact us. Whether you want to develop the future of your organisation, or have a project you need completing, we have a work experience programme to suit your needs.