DMU gives graduates a helping hand

By Natalie Whitehouse

For graduates, the task of gaining employment immediately after university is a tough one, especially if the industry they wish to get into is fiercely competitive. On leaving university, many people find their vast amount of experience is still not enough to qualify them for their dream job.

That’s where DMU have stepped in: developing a placement scheme entitled DMU Graduate Champions, which seeks to find six-week paid work placements for graduates looking for further experience in industry.

Journalism graduate Conor Davies was more than happy to be involved with this fantastic initiative when he was offered a placement, which began at the start of this year.

Since finishing university, Conor has travelled to California as part of a #DMUglobal trip, as well as having a job in the DMU Accommodation office on his return. The 21-year-old is now employed part time as in Medical Recruitment at his local hospital in Derby, so when he heard about the DMU Graduate Champions Scheme, he was eager to apply:

“I applied for it [the scheme] as soon as I heard about it. There are lots of opportunities out there but, as I currently live in Derby, most of them are unpaid and in London… it’s difficult to make this work realistically. So getting paid and being almost guaranteed a place through DMU’s employability commitments means I went for the scheme almost immediately.”

After applying, Conor, who graduated from De Montfort with a First Class degree, was given the opportunity to work as Communications Officer for the DMU Communications team, which has seen him gain vital workplace experience to add to his CV:

“My skills that had been developed and honed on the journalism course like interviewing and the art of putting a news story together have been tested. I’ve been on the placement for three weeks and I’ve written about audiology, neural networks and successful students. It’s been a whirlwind but it’s refreshing to get back into journalism after a short break.”

Conor (right) at graduation

Conor (right) at graduation

As well as working on honing his talents, the internship has also allowed Conor to add further skills and expertise to his collection:

“I think adding skills like publishing to Content Management Systems, as well as the increased amount of work I can add to my Portfolio and experience in the communications side of things will add to my employability prospects. Especially as so far my work experience had been specifically in the sports side of things in newspapers.”

Ideally, Conor’s dream job would be a sports reporter for a newspaper or a magazine, but he admits it’s a challenge to find your perfect job straight away in such a competitive industry:

“It is a challenge in the current landscape of jobs and opportunities, but I’ll never stop trying, and would definitely grab any job in journalism if offered to me to enable me to start working my way through the ranks.”

And Conor’s current internship is providing him with an extra bit of experience that will, hopefully, make him stand out from the crowd and appeal to prospective employers. But aside from that, the placement is also proving something Conor likes to do – which is often half the battle:

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s very refreshing for it to be my ‘day job’ for a couple of days a week. The Comms. team have been great with me too, treating me like a proper member of staff rather than a work experience kid, and have given me plenty of opportunities to test and challenge myself.

“I definitely would [recommended the internship scheme]. DMU’s employability focus is unique and certainly one of the best attributes the university has had from day one. I remember in my first year of journalism, we were expected to arrange work experience for ourselves at our own local newspapers. This commitment was essential and gave me the newfound confidence to match my journalistic skills, which had been honed in the first term at university.

“With this placement, it almost feels like I’ve come full circle, and DMU is still there to support myself and fellow graduates with these paid placements.”

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