Making the most of your internship

Poppy Harrington, gradireland Events Intern

According to the 2017 gradireland Graduate Salary & Recruitment Trends Survey (coming soon) over 75% of businesses said they offer work experience or internships to college students. Also, 66% of students surveyed by gradireland saying they had completed work experience or an internship. We take a look at the internship experience from the perspective of a pre-final year student. By Hannah Kelly. 

“Internships give students a taste of working life, equip them with vital industry experience and can help them choose where they want go to in their career,” says Poppy Harrington, a 3rd year Events Management student from DIT, who is currently four months into her six month internship here at  gradireland.

“My role is Events Intern, so I liaise with the events manager and events co-ordinator for all of our events,” she explained, “my main role has been to organise Summer Fair which is on June 7th in the RDS”.

More and more courses at third level are adding work placement as a module. Poppy believes her “course wouldn’t be the same without” the internship because in this field experience is everything. Poppy had some previous experience of running events in college, but not comparable to the scale she is now working on in her internship.

“For the Summer Fair we already have 1600 people registered and for my event in college only 50 people came, so it’s definitely on a different level to what I was used to,” she said.

Above all, Poppy feels like her internship has given her a chance to explore what her future career might look like and what aspects of events she enjoys.

“It’s opened doors for me about what I want to do when I finish, because I’m still not 100% sure what I want to do, but everyday I’m here I learn more about what I want to do, what I don’t want to do and what interests me and what doesn’t,” she said.

A concern Poppy has is how she will feel returning to a college environment after being in the workplace for six months. She feels internships would be better suited once a student is finished with their degree.

“I’m not looking forward to go back to assignments and having tutors tell me what to do instead of working on my own initiative and making my own choices with a team,” Poppy said, adding “I think having this experience at the end of my degree would have been more beneficial as my internship is so long”.

Once finished her final year in college, she hopes to go on to further study after gradireland introduced her to the possibility of graduate programmes and believes the internship has been hugely beneficial and will stand to her once she enters the working world.

“The way I see it, these six months of my life will be really beneficial in terms of what I can learn and learn about myself” Poppy said, “I didn’t even know what a graduate programme was before gradireland and it has opened my mind as to what is out there when I finish”.

 

Next week, Poppy will share her top tips for starting your internship on the front foot. 

Find out more about internships on gradireland.com .


6 skills graduates need to work in the food and drink sector

The Food and Drink sector is growing and thriving with new opportunities for graduates developing all the time. However, as Hannah Kelly explains, a new report has highlighted skill gaps graduates will need to fill if they are to be successful in the industry.

The recently released Food Wise 2025,a report compiled by the Department of Agriculture & Food, sets out a plan for the development of the agri-food industry over the next decade, said they expect to see a further 23,000 jobs created, including the creation of additional graduate programmes, over the next ten years in the Irish Food and Beverage Sector.

“The Food and Drink sector has grown strongly over the period from 2010 to 2016 and has recovered”, the report said. “Employment in the sector increased to 54,000 in 2016, an increase of 6,600 from 2009.”

To achieve further growth though, it was stressed that gaps in skills required for the sector need to be addressed. Graduates eager to work in this sector should aim to focus on developing skills in the following areas that the report highlighted:

  1. Think internationally: Develop your knowledge of, and skills in, international trade and logistics. Companies also place a high emphasis on language and multi-cultural skills. More specifically in this area you should work on developing experience in customer management, dealing with international customers and suppliers and supply management.
  2. Innovation: In particular, companies are looking for graduates with production development skills. More specifically the report identified gaps in portfolio management, packaging technology and design engineering. Talk to your careers advisor or look up companies who could help you bridge this skills gap.
  3. IT and Numeracy: Employers are looking for graduates with good numeracy and IT skills no matter what section of the company you’ll be in. These skills are particularly useful as companies seek to merge roles within their organisations through automated manufacturing procedures.
  4. Supply Chain Management: Focus on customer requirements and standards, managing money effectively and reducing inventory levels. These are all skills companies are looking for in potential employees no matter what part of the business you might be working in.
  5. Leadership: In the gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, we found that 37.1% of employers identified lack of leadership hard skill shortfalls. Being able to demonstrate the potential to lead a team is important as both more strategic and engaged leadership is a skill gap identified in the industry.
  6. Financial and Commercial Acumen: As mentioned above, a lot of companies are moving towards less structured roles, with cross-functional teams and a broader variety of work the ever increasing norm. This means no matter where you are in the business; you’ll be expected to have good financial and commercial judgement.

For more information on different career sectors visit: https://gradireland.com/career-sectors

 


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #2

what_do_graduates_do

In the second of a series of articles, we continue to look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland. However, when it comes to the relevance of qualifications, there are quite differing views depending on the level of qualification and the sector of employment.

Graduates and qualifications

For graduates of 2015, 62% of Honours Bachelor Degree holders rated the relevance of their qualifications as relevant or most relevant to their current area of employment. Meanwhile, 76% of graduates with Higher Diplomas and Postgraduate Diplomas found their qualifications more relevant or most relevant to their work. 70% of Masters and Doctorate graduates rate their qualification as relevant or most relevant to their work, while interestingly, 11% rate it as irrelevant or most irrelevant.

Employment Overseas

62% of graduate with Honours Bachelor Degrees found that their educational qualification was relevant/most relevant to the area of employment, compared to 59% with a Masters or Doctorate qualification. This compares to Higher and Postgraduate Diploma graduates who have the lowest level of satisfaction, with just 53% viewing their qualification to be relevant/most relevant to their area of employment.

Employed in Ireland and Overseas

Agriculture, Forestries, Fisheries & Veterinary, Helath and Welfare and Education Honours Bachelor Degree graduates reported the highest levels of relevance between their employment and education, at 86%, 84% and 82% respectively.

The majority of Masters and Doctorate graduates, as would be expected, reported high levels of relevance between their educational qualification and their employment. Fields that rated their education particularly relevant included Health and Welfare (86%), Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction (82%) and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary (80%).

Interestingly, high proportions of Arts & Humanities graduates rated their education as irrelevant/most irrelevant to their employment, with 51% of Honours Degree holders, 26% of Higher or Postgraduate Diploma holders and 29% of Masters and Doctorate holders of this opinion.

In our next article, we’ll look at graduate salaries for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #1

what_do_graduates_do

In the first of a series of articles, we’ll be taking a look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland.

Snapshot:

There were 18,526 students surveyed, with qualifications between levels 8-10.

Overall, 68% are in employment, with 57% employed in Ireland and a further 11% are working overseas. Only 6% of all graduates surveyed are still seeking employment nine months after graduation.

Those with Honours Bachelor Degrees

From the class of 2014, nine months after graduation, 58% were in employment. This has risen to 62% for the class of 2015, with the vast majority (85%) of them working in Ireland. Only one in ten graduates are going overseas to seek their first job, with the UK still viewed as the most favourable destination.

In terms of where the jobs are in different sectors, there is still a huge demand for teachers, and graduates in this area have the highest rates of employment. After education, IT has the highest proportion of employed graduates, at 70%, which reflects the consistent growth in this area.

One of the stranger results of the study was that graduates who were awarded a pass degree demonstrated the highest levels of employment (74%) while those who received a first-class Honours degree had the lowest, at 57%. The reverse is true in terms of progression into further study. While this finding is unusual, it is perhaps attributable to the fact that a higher award is necessary for acceptance into postgraduate study, with those who obtain first class honours more likely to pursue further study.

Those with Higher & Postgraduate Diplomas 

78% of those with these Diplomas are in employment, up from 76% from the class of 2014, with 75% employed in Ireland, compared to 68% from the class of 2014. This has led to only 3% seeking employment overseas, down from 8% in the previous year’s research.

Those with Masters/Doctorates

80% of Masters and PhD graduates are in employment, with 64% finding work in Ireland and the remainder overseas, with the UK the most popular. The sectors with the highest rates of employment for Masters and doctoral students were Business, Administration & Law and Education students at 87% and 86% respectively.

In our next article, we’ll look at the relevance of each qualification for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.

 


Range of choices for postgrad students highlighted at Ireland’s largest further study fair.

 

February 15th 2016 saw hundreds of students and over 60 exhibitors at the gradireland Further Study Fair at the RDS to explore the massive range of opportunities available within the world of postgraduate study.

It is estimated that around 35% of students go on to further study after earning their degree, with last year seeing more than 19,000 students making to decision to pursue further study, according to data from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Director of gradireland, Mark Mitchell, says that the best way for students to make the most of further study is to have a firm objective as to why they are studying for a further qualification:

“If you’re going to pursue postgraduate study, make sure you understand the commitment involved. Research the employability benefits that certain postgraduate courses can bring, a postgrad qualification can be hugely attractive to employers and can also greatly enhance your earning potential in certain sectors. We were delighted with the event and the amount of information which we were able to present to students and graduates.”

The most recent edition of gradireland’s Graduate Salary & Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey found that 60% of employers viewed postgraduate qualifications as being important when assessing an application. This correlates with research into employment rates straight after college, which reveal that 78% of postgraduate graduates are in employment, compared to 58%of undergraduates.

The Irish, UK and mainland European postgraduate providers at the RDS showcased a host of courses on offer, and attendees also found out what financial supports are available for them. Seminars ran throughout the event, exploring themes such as: Postgraduate funding, conversion courses, studying Master’s programmes in Europe, how to write the dreaded personal statement and what are the best routes into teaching.

The Irish Research Council also attended the fair, promoting the unique and growing focus which dedicated research presents for postgraduate students, in 2016 alone the Irish Research Council awarded €30 million in funding, to 373 new researchers. Over half of this was awarded to the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme. This scheme funded 206 researchers in total, with an average award of just over €75,000.

Search for the right postgraduate course for you, and get all the advice you need in our dedicated further study section. We have completely updated and curated our funding section, with the issue of finance one of the primary concerns when it comes to considering postgraduate study. 


Interning with a professional services firm from a non-business background

By Adam Trundle, Corporate Finance & Tax Rotation Intern, Deloitte

When I applied for the summer internship in Deloitte, I wasn’t really sure if it was going to be for me. I am studying Maths and Music in Maynooth University, so my background in business is pretty much zero!

To be honest I only applied at all because Deloitte were placed so highly in the gradireland rankings. Nothing to lose by giving it a go! When I came in for my interview, it was soon obvious that Deloitte wasn’t just some big, boring ‘accounting’ firm. Everyone was kind and welcoming, no matter where they worked. I was lucky enough to be offered a 12 week internship, split between Tax and Corporate Finance. I accepted my place, but I still wasn’t really sure if Deloitte was right for me.

Adam Trundle during his internship with Deloitte

Adam Trundle during his internship with Deloitte

When I arrived on the first day, any worries I had about not fitting in were quickly dispelled. Our first week was spent getting to know all of the other interns and we were given lots of really helpful general training. When we went out to our respective departments, the encouraging atmosphere continued. I soon learned that no one expected us to know everything about tax already, thankfully! What was more important was being willing to learn and having a ‘can-do’ attitude. Everyone that I met was willing to take time out of their day to explain things to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know something coming in because I was there to learn, with some of the best teachers in the business.

After a great six weeks in Corporate Tax, it was time for me to move to Restructuring Services in Corporate Finance. This was a daunting prospect, because while I had some idea of what tax is, restructuring and insolvency were entirely alien concepts to me! When I arrived first, I was given a general overview of what the team I was joining did day-to-day. Every question I had was answered in detail, until I felt confident about my individual role. I am writing this blog at the end of my third week in corporate finance and I can safely say that I have learned more about restructuring in these few weeks than I did up to this point.

I’m really glad that I applied for a summer internship here in Deloitte, even though my degree didn’t originally seem relevant. I would recommend that anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do after college does the same. The learning and development team, the online resources and the people-focussed culture mean that anyone can achieve their full potential. That includes the likes of me, studying for a non-business degree.

Find out more from gradireland about what’s involved in areas like audit, tax and accountancy with our unique series of #FYI videos. Perfect for kicking off your career thinking while you’re still in college!

 

 


‘It’s all about the team.’ Hear from a leader both on and off the field.

Working in audit with Deloitte, and captaining the Cork Ladies Football Team, Ciara O’Sullivan talks about balancing your work with your passion.

6 September 2014; Ciara O'Sullivan, Cork. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Armagh v Cork. Pearse Park, Longford. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

6 September 2014; Ciara O’Sullivan, Cork. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Armagh v Cork. Pearse Park, Longford. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

 

When did you start playing football and how did you end up on the Cork team?

I started playing football with my club Mourneabbey when I was under 8 and when I was 11 I went for Cork under 14 trials. I was lucky enough to make that U14 panel and have been playing with various Cork teams since then. I have been a member of the Cork senior team for the last 9 years and this is my second year as captain of the team.

How does your intensive training schedule for Cork compare to your training to become a Chartered Accountant?

I must admit I enjoy training with Cork a little bit more than I enjoyed studying for the exams! I think both take discipline and organisation and I actually think they complement each other. During study leave for my CAP 2s and FAEs I really looked forward to going training after studying for the day and although sometimes I was tired before training, I always felt better after it. It’s great to give you a focus other than the exams and work. It’s also always something to talk to clients about when you’re on site as a lot of clients in Ireland have some interest in GAA!

Does your work as captain on the field help your work in Deloitte off the field?

It’s not something I’ve ever actually thought about but I suppose it does. I’ve been very lucky to be part of this Cork team who have so many leaders, so in some ways being captain is just a title. I’m just the one who goes up for the toss or gets to collect the cup if we win. Everyone helps each other and it’s all about the team. It’s the same in Deloitte, particularly as I work in audit where in general there are a number of people on the audit team. Again everyone helps each other and it makes the job much more enjoyable and efficient. I’ve made great friends on both the Cork team and in work and having these friends who are in the same boat as you helps a lot.

What has been the best moment of your career as the captain of the Cork Ladies football team?

It would have to be winning the 2015 All-Ireland final. It was against Dublin again and like in previous years we just about won. The closer the game is the more you appreciate the win when it’s over. Lifting the cup was unreal… the speech that followed definitely wasn’t unreal!

What’s your advice for other trainees who juggle the heavy commitment of both their career and passion?

I would say that it’s totally achievable to do both, if you want to do it enough. Obviously I know I’m lucky that work accommodate me where they can so that I never miss training. I think that once you are organised and like doing something enough you will make it happen.

For more advice on getting started in your career and balancing your life, read gradireland’s advice section.