Once you finish your undergraduate degree it can be hard to figure out what to do next. There are so many options available, further study and travel being just two. Conor O’ Doherty, a DCU graduate, chose to combine those two options and set off to the Netherlands to pursue a postgrad degree in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
There are hundreds of options when it comes to going onto further education, and each have their benefits and drawbacks. Moving abroad can be a more expensive and sometimes a stressful option, but it can also provide an invaluable experience.
Conor chose to study abroad for a number of reasons, including cost and a desire to travel.
“I wanted to leave Ireland for a while, although it’s a great place to grow up, I didn’t want to live there for the rest of my life without living anywhere else,” Conor said. “The other reason is that the price difference is huge when it comes to the cost of postgraduate study”.
Fees for a year in the UvA will cost Conor around €2000, whereas the equivalent course in Ireland would cost up to €6,800 per year.
“Although I’ll pay more for accommodation and moving expenses, Irish courses usually cost a lot more and they’re generally a lot longer”.
Having lived away from home during his undergraduate degree, Conor is used to managing finances himself. While in Amsterdam he plans to find a place to live and use savings for the first while, but then try and find part-time work.
He found the process of applying for the course “relatively simple” but had some problems getting documentation together, as he hadn’t finished his course before the application deadline.
“My application was a bit of a mess to be honest because I hadn’t finished my course so I had to go to different bodies in the university, both here and in the Netherlands, to organise workarounds,” he said. “The University expects plenty of people not to have their degree yet though, so sending on predicted grades was acceptable.”.
Finding accommodation is something Conor is still trying to finalise before his move in August. Much like the accommodation crisis in Ireland, students looking for somewhere to live in Amsterdam face the same problems.
“I’m using a variety of sites to search like Volta and Pararius, but because they’re for Dutch people mostly, I might need to go through an agency,” he said. “Failing that, there’s very expensive emergency accommodation like The Student Hotel, but I’d rather not have to use that option”.
Conor advises anyone who is interested in a postgrad abroad to take the risk and go for it, but to really think it through before starting the process.
“It’s a huge leap of faith, but the only thing worse than not trying it is wishing you had,” he said. “I haven’t even started the hard part of mine yet and honestly, as stressful as it has been, I’m still very glad I made the decision and followed it through.”
For more information on studying in Europe, including information about various universities to which you can apply, visit the EUNiCAS website.
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.
Unfortunately we won’t have flamingos or cactus at our Summer Fair BUT we have plenty to help you on your career pathway!
We’ve put together our top tips for making the most out of next week’s Summer Fair!
Keep an open mind
Employers hire graduates from any discipline. So don’t pigeon-hole potential employers – IT companies need marketing, finance and language graduates; accountancy firms recruit from any disciplines, you don’t have to be an accountant. Indeed most of the companies at the gradireland Summer Fair recruit from a number of disciplines, so don’t walk on by their stands – get in there and ask them if they are on the look-out for graduates from your discipline: you might be pleasantly surprised!
Download the gradireland Events App
The gradireland Events App is your personal assistant for the gradireland Summer Fair! We have packed our entire fair information into this must-have app which is FREE to download and gives you the tools that you need to have a productive and successful gradireland Summer Fair! The app will help you:
- Research companies before and during the fair
- Keep up-to-date with all the pre-fair developments e.g. new exhibitors, exciting new seminars
- Find companies who are hiring students and graduates with your skills
- Locate exhibitors quickly with a floor plan at your fingertips, so you can make the most out of your day.
- Create your own schedule of seminars with built-in reminders
- Bookmark your key exhibitors; have immediate access to companies’ gradireland profiles and contact information
- Interact via the app with exhibitors and other attendees; post photos of your day, comments and messages.
Use the Jobs Walls
There will be several Jobs Walls within the hall at the gradireland Summer Fair, showcasing live jobs from a number of sectors. These will have numerous graduate schemes and opportunities listed, so bring a notepad and pen or use your phone and take a photo of any that you are interested in applying to – then go home, find the job, internship or graduate programme on gradireland.com and start putting together your applications!
Bring your CV
Many employers are happy to receive CVs at careers fairs. In addition, at the gradireland Summer Fair we will be running a specialist CV Clinic, hosted by careers advisers from various Universities providing specialist advice, at which you can have your CV reviewed.
However, a word of caution – the CV Clinic has a limited number of slots and gets booked up very quickly, so get there early to book your appointment and don’t expect the advisers to write your CV for you – they are there to review and advise but you’ll have to do the hard work first yourself!
Attend the Seminars
Make sure you attend one or more of the specialist careers seminars – they are designed to give you the edge when it comes to applications and interviews! From Social Media to Life after Graduating there is a seminar to benefit everyone. Check out the line-up of seminars for the Summer Fair here!
Make sure you have researched the exhibitors who are attending and decide beforehand which ones you would like to talk to. Think of questions which might not be answered already in brochures or on their websites, read our other blog for some examples you might consider. Many exhibitors bring recent graduates now working in their business to their stands, so ask them what life is really like in that company!
Visit summergradfair.ie today and get your free ticket!
Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers reveals Ireland’s most sought-after employers from the perspective of those that matter most – the students and graduates who will provide the next generation of innovators and leaders in Irish business.
The Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers survey is part of the European Student Barometer, the largest pan-European survey of graduate trends and is conducted by Europe’s leading graduate research firm, trendence. The data produced decide the winners of Ireland’s 100 and the winners of the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards and contribute also to a wider study across all 24 European Union countries.
You can find more information in gradireland’s book Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers, published every Autumn and the 2016 edition is still available to view via gradireland.com/publications.
Large graduate employers often take on interns too. We’ve put together what the benefits of internships with large employers are and how to find vacancies.
Do well as an intern for an employer that also runs a graduate scheme and you could significantly increase your chances of being hired there when you finish university.
Even if you don’t end up working there permanently, you will still have a prestigious name to add to your CV. You will also have benefited from the training you received from your internship employer. This will stand to you in the future.
How to find an internship at a big employer
Firstly take a look at the graduate jobs section of the gradireland website. You can filter your search to focus only on internship roles advertised. Or if you know that a company runs a graduate scheme, chances are it will have an internship programme too – most employers have a careers website where you can find out.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by deadlines that seem far away. If an employer gets enough quality internship applications before the set deadline, it may cut the application period short. To be on the safe side, as soon as you see an internship advertised, start work on your application so you can submit it in good time.
How to apply for these internships
The application and selection process for internships is often similar to the process for graduate jobs. It will almost definitely involve an online application form and a face-to-face interview. In addition, at different stages you may need to complete psychometric tests, a phone interview and an assessment day. You can find all the information you need on the gradireland website where we cover
Remember applying and interviewing for internships is a great way to improve your interview techniques.
Sector-specific advice for finding an internship at a big graduate employer
Make the most of the advice available that is tailored to specific industries by visiting the career sectors section of the gradireland website.
Internships with smaller intakes: are they worth it?
‘Yes’ is the answer. While they might be harder to find , they can still give you skills and experience that will help you get a graduate job.
Check out our blog on “Top reasons to look for an internship that has a smaller intake”
On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House. The following companies have been nominated for the Best Internship Programme more than 50 intake:
*A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk
Don’t limit your internship options by only focusing on larger graduate employers. If you’re looking for an internship experience that allows you to see the effect of your efforts quickly you should consider looking for opportunities with small and medium-sized businesses, typically organisations with fewer than 250 employees.
Small, high potential businesses can offer you wide-ranging opportunities to put your talents to good use and are a great source of graduate employment. They also tend to be less oversubscribed than big, high-profile graduate recruiters. You may well find that these types of internships can give you a good head start in the race for a graduate job.
Why choose a smaller internship intake?
- In a smaller organisation, you can make a bigger impact. Processes in smaller companies tend to be shorter and more visible, so you can see the effect of your work relatively quickly.
- The work you do will impress graduate recruiters. Many placements with smaller companies are project based. This means that you can take ownership of a task and see it through to the end – something that will impress recruiters when it comes to graduate job applications. You will be closely involved in the employer’s whole business process and gain a real insight into how they operate.
- Early responsibility. If you have the chance to take ownership of a task and see it through, your initiative will be tested and you’ll be able to develop your leadership, team work, time management and organisational skills.
- Your contribution will be highly valued. In a smaller organisation a spare pair of hands can undertake tasks no-one else has time for. Interns often provide a valuable resource to employers who are busy working hard on the core business and don’t have the time to look at issues such as competitor analysis, marketing or market research. An intern can dedicate their time to one of these areas and offer enterprising ideas to improve the business.
- Your placement can be tailored to suit you. Work experience at a small organisation is unlikely to follow a standard, predetermined schedule and it should be possible to give you opportunities that reflect your interests.
- Do well, and there’s a good chance you’ll be asked back. A high proportion of small employers may be able to offer students further work after their placement, from additional one-off projects to full-time employment when they graduate.
- If you’re a budding entrepreneur you should see a small organisation in action. If you’re interested in starting your own business in future, a placement is an excellent way to gain insight into how a small to medium-sized business is run. You may even have the opportunity to work with the company’s founder and find out first-hand how the business was set up.
- Think local. Whereas many work experience schemes and internships with large graduate employers are likely to be based in larger cities, small businesses can be found in locations across the country. Why not start building up your network of local contacts now?
- Companies with fewer than 250 employees may be more likely to offer opportunities to focus on particularly niche areas.
How to apply for work experience with small companies
You can research opportunities for internships with small and medium-size companies via gradireland and your university careers service. If a company that interests you hasn’t formally advertised a work experience opportunity, make a speculative application.
Your university or employment service may advertise vacation work with local companies. This will give you a chance to gain some practical evidence of your skills and develop your understanding of how businesses work.
Or if you think a larger graduate employer is a better fit read our blog “How to land an internship with a large graduate employer”
On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House and the following companies are nominated for the Best internship programme less than 50 intake:
- Abbott Ireland
- Arthur Cox
- First Derivatives PLC
- William Fry
A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk
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.
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.