Jessie is our latest edition to the Student Services team in Dublin and she is full of enthusiasm! Read on to find out what makes it so satisfying working with our international students as well as allocating work placements and host families in Dublin.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at ADC College.
My name is Jessie. I joined ADC College in July this year, having finished a degree in Social Care last year. At ADC College, my main responsibility is to provide international students with the opportunity to experience the Irish culture by offering them work placements in an area they are interested in and the hospitality of a host family to fully experience the Irish way of living and working.
What made you apply for this job in the first place?
As a people-centred person, I really want to work with people and help them realise their full potential. The student support service offered by ADC College allows me to tap into that. I feel that schools can sometimes fixate too much on academics and may not pay sufficient attention to one’s personal and professional development. I like how in ADC College students are given an opportunity to work in Dublin or London, where they learn to adapt to different workplaces, cultures and surroundings. It’s like a “School of Life” for students.
You are now successfully allocating work placements to hundreds of happy students. What’s your secret to a good match?
I try to see what experience students already have and determine what they want to improve upon and develop. I then look to see what work placement would build on these skills. If a student does not have previous experience or is not sure what setting they would like to work in I try to find snippets of interests from their CVs. For example things they like to do in their free time. It’s worth trying to find a work placement that fits around a passion of theirs.
What part of your job do you find the most inspiring or interesting?
I really like going out and meeting the managers of companies – seeing how they work and matching them with a student who can deliver value to their business in turn for them providing the necessary behind-the-scenes experience to our students. I also like mentoring our students - seeing how they are getting on, brainstorming on solutions and encouraging them to make the most of their cultural work experience. For example, if they want to be challenged more at work I encourage them to propose ideas to their manager in terms of what they could do to help. Some of them have come up with some really innovative ideas or ways of doing things (especially when it comes to technology and social media!).
What part is the most challenging?
There are some weeks where I don’t get as many work placements lined up as I would like to. You need a lot of patience and be a tenacious person because owners and managers of companies can be very busy people. Therefore, it often requires numerous call-backs to find that ideal time when they can talk and are open to considering taking on a student for work placement. Then there are other weeks when it all goes swimmingly – moral of the story being that the challenges are not insurmountable and generally always pass eventually.
How many hours/days can it take to successfully match students with work placements?
It can take up to an average of 10 calls to deliver one placement (this includes non-connections, leaving voicemails and call-backs). On a good week, I’m delighted when I can allocate 12 students to a work placement. Other weeks, it can be as low as one.You need to celebrate all the wins – big and small.
If there is one piece of advice you could give to students before starting their internship programme, what would it be?
Be open minded. It’s a new culture, country and language for many of you. Some of you won’t have experience living away from home with a new host family. Be open to change and embrace the experience. You’re here to learn so don’t feel you need to know everything. You don’t.
ADC College organises Internship Programmes in London and Dublin, eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send a message to email@example.com.