Tom reacts well to taste of life at work
Published at 15:46, Wednesday, 27 October 2010
AN ASPATRIA student has tasted life in the world of work thanks to a West Cumbrian engineering firm.
Tom Johnson has just completed a 10-week work placement with REACT Engineering as part of Lakes College’s Graduate Innovation Project.
After graduating this summer in business information technology at Northumbria University, Tom, 21, applied to the college’s programme in a bid to gain real workplace experience.
Working in partnership with the University of Cumbria, Lakes College has placed 22 graduates with West Cumbrian companies.
Although only in its first year, the scheme has proved popular with local firms and graduates – individually matching them with appropriate companies that will develop their graduate skills base.
Aimed at updating workplace skills, the programme also allows young people to gain paid-for industry experience.
Tom said: “I have really enjoyed my time at REACT – I’ve been involved in all sorts for the company.
“I had been here on work experience before working for REACT’s sister company HiDef logging aerial images, so I knew this was a company I would love to work with again.
“When I started I was given the task of blitzing the firm’s websites, including its charity website, intranet and upping its profile on social networking sites.
“I also got to work on some of the company’s other internal systems such as a signpost programme to help out new starters at REACT.
“It’s been great to have been given so many interesting projects to get to grips with – I feel like I’ve been able to really use my skills in IT.
“REACT’s charity website has been updated drastically because the team came to me with aims for the website to reach a target audience most relevant to them.
“Through Facebook I have set up an events section so I have taken the aims of the company to the young and interactive.
“The team is very supportive and encouraging which helped me to settle in quickly.”
Tim Brentnall, project manager at REACT Engineering, said the initial purpose of taking on a graduate through the Innovation Scheme was to match the correct graduate with the skills they have for the needs of the business.
“Tom interfaced really well here and got straight on with his own independent work,” he said.
“The scheme has great benefits to us as a company as well as to Tom as a graduate – his skills in IT have proved pretty invaluable to us.
“To have worked here will add weight to his CV when it comes to him looking for a permanent job.”
Tom, who would eventually like a career in IT consultancy, will start job hunting when he gets back from spending three months travelling.
“I would like to stay in the area to build my career – all my family and friends are here and I believe West Cumbria is a good base to start a career.
“The scheme has definitely prepared me for the real world; I’ve noticed a difference in my networking skills and communication skills. It’s definitely something I would advise other graduates to do.
“Workplace experience is invaluable.”
Jon Allport, business account manager for Lakes College, has been involved in the Innovation Project.
He said: “The scheme is a helping hand for both parties. It opens up other opportunities for the graduates as well as giving them the vital experience of being in the workplace.
“We often find that local businesses find it just as difficult to source the right recruits for their specific needs as local graduates do when it comes to finding a job.
“This project acted as a middle ground for placing the right people with the right firms.”
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk