Work experience secured at multinational tech company CISCO

11 March 2019

Katie and Shannon are currently studying a full-time vocational course in IT. They recently secured a four-day work placement at CISCO, an American multinational technology company. 

Rather than spend their half-term as most students do, Katie and Shannon made the journey to Mi-IDEA in Manchester, located not far from the University of Manchester. They met around 15 other dedicated females who were passionate about a career within the technology industry. 

Both students found the placement via their teacher who shared the opportunity with the class. Katie and Shannon both decided to apply for the placement and were accepted on to the programme shortly after. Tim Crowther, teacher of IT at Ashton Sixth Form College said, 

“Katie and Shannon both work very hard in class and are consistently achieving high grades. To have this opportunity and them both obtaining a place is marvellous. They will have gained valuable experience over the week with a blue chip IT company that will stand them in good stead for their next steps on their chosen career paths.”

The placement with CISCO started at 8:30am and finished at 4:30pm, resulting in four very busy and exciting days. Their work placement made use of every second as they were required to complete a project and present their ideas, in less than a week. Students were set a series of briefs and the project featured two parts – technology and business. They were required to work in groups and develop a device that could be used out in the real world. They then had to create a business plan in order to promote the device and on the final day, took part in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentation to pitch their device to the room. 

Shannon’s team decided to make a device that would benefit the homeless. They would position tablets throughout the area that would give homeless people access to information about the nearest shelters, food banks and facilities.

Katie’s team chose to create a device that would give people access to a safe space. Located in town centres and busy areas, the space would allow people to go inside or gain access to services that could help with their anxiety, stress and more.

“The placement wasn’t what we were expecting. We knew before that we were going to do a project but we didn’t know what it was going to be like.”

Following the completion of their project, the teams presented their ideas and prototypes to the room. Incredibly, both students worked in their groups to create a device that would help others. Their use of technology would potentially benefit many people who needed it most. They presented their devices and Shannon’s team proved extremely successful. Her team took home the prize for both the business project and the technology project.

This is not the first placement Katie and Shannon have been involved in. As part of their vocational course in IT, students are required to complete placements in both first and second year. Katie explained,

“We’ve already completed enough placements for our course, but we are doing an extra one next week too.” 

Last year, Katie and Shannon completed a placement at Salford University working in their business department. Next week, they will both complete a week of work experience at CDL, a software company in Stockport. 

“We’re both going on to GMP after college working in Customer Support” 

Following the completion of their course later this year, Katie and Shannon have secured an apprenticeship in customer support with Greater Manchester Police (GMP). These IT students have shown incredible dedication to their studies and have taken every single opportunity that has come their way. They have improved their employability skills to such a high level that they have already secured an apprenticeship with the Police half way through the final year of their studies.

Shannon explained,

“Placements are all about building your skills in teamwork, confidence, leadership and time management.” 

Securing placements with huge companies such as CISCO allows students to truly develop their skills. The amount of experience Katie and Shannon have gained in just four days, added to their wide range of experience opportunities already achieved, will set them apart in their future careers.

enrichment, work placement, work experience, digital technology and multimedia, employability, it