The 2020 Placement Awards

The University of Reading has been running its Placement Awards for the last 3 years and while Covid-19 sought to derail the ceremony, this didn’t stop some of our best students from winning awards.

Students were nominated for a range of reasons, from developing new organisational skills to demonstrating an eagerness to learn. By receiving Placement Awards, their hard work and commitment to their placements has been recognised by their both their employer and the University of Reading.

The Placement Awards focus on celebrating personal development, relationship building and how much impact and legacy the students had.

Michael, winner of The Best Personal Development award, had his placement with Oracle (a Computer Software Company). He described how proud he was to win the Personal Development Award and went on to explain why he was nominated:  

“In particular, I was recognised for a project where I created an application for Senior leadership, not only working to meet their needs in a limited timeline, but also learning to programme with no background in coding. Not only by having been nominated but winning this award, it has encouraged me to take on more opportunities as they come – even if I’m not confident I can do it, I can always learn.”

As previously mentioned in one of our student blogs, failure and not having the knowledge straight away is not always a bad thing. Placements can largely throw students in at the deep end and it is up to them as to how they take on board the challenges and criticisms. Michael recognised this and now knows that even if there is something he struggles with, the opportunity to learn from it is valuable.

Phillip, our runner-up for The Best Personal Development award, was working with BAE (an Aerospace Company). He told us how surprised he was to receive a nomination and how important it was for him to try different challenges to learn from first-hand experience:

“I spent a lot of time during my placement organising meetings with different people throughout the company at different levels and talking with people about their careers. I wanted to get a good idea of what it took to do well in a company. I took on different challenges, like speaking in front of around 300 people, which took me way outside my comfort zone. It is an experience I now have, and next time I will know what I need to do.”

James, winner of The Best Relationship Building, had a placement with Microchip (a Semiconductor company). Originally, he had not heard of the company, but he managed to discover them by visiting a careers fair on campus. Once in his placement he strived to ask around the company to understand how people excelled in the business and he says:

“Before I knew it, I was having a conversation with the VP of Sales for Europe and the Middle East. From speaking to as many people as possible I was able to get a better scope of what it was like to work within Microchip, as well as what it might be like to work within other roles. I felt that considering the placement was only contracted for one year, I needed to throw myself into the deep end with work to gain the most experience from my time at Microchip”.

Placements provide a valuable insight into the industries you are thinking about going into, as well as being a great way to gain experience and relationships with employers. If you are unsure about applying for a Placement feel free to get in contact with the Henley Careers team or with students who have completed a Placement to give you advice.

On behalf of the Henley Careers team we would like to congratulate all the nominees and winner of the Placement Awards and wish them luck for the future! They have shown outstanding success and determination.