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How industry experience can increase personal development and employability

31 March 2022 by Add Energy

With many benefits such as increased employability, improved skills and knowledge, personal development, and professional networking, work placements are a great way for students and graduates to kickstart their professional development and for organizations to invest in the up-and-coming workforce that will soon be joining their industry. 

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2021 Headshot Oliver Perks

Add Energy’s Canada office recently welcomed supply chain graduate, Oliver Perks, to gain industry experience and immerse himself in the working environment for a week. Oliver has reflected on his experience and offers advice to anyone considering a placement in the future…

The most valuable takeaway from this experience was…

“Working in an office environment was the most valuable takeaway from my placement at Add Energy. Whether that was at the physical office in Calgary, or working from home, this provided me with solid expectations about what to expect when I enter the workforce.

“I also got the chance to develop some key skills such as familiarizing myself with technical skills for search and data mining, as well as increasing my familiarity with technical terms pertaining to both Add Energy and the industry as a whole.”

The best piece of advice I was given during your placement was…

“To not be afraid to ask questions. While learning to solve problems by yourself is a good skill to develop, sometimes it’s best to recognize that you simply don’t know yet and to ask so you can learn from someone with experience. People are always happy to help!”

I would recommend a working placement because…

“It has provided a valuable experience for me and a realistic look at the kind of work done in my field. I would definitely recommend a placement at Add Energy to anyone with an engineering background, and a placement with the materials department specifically to those with a supply chain background.”

2021 Headshot_ Afia McClenaghan 2As well as integrating with the wider team, Oliver was mentored by Country Manager/BD Manager for North America, Afia McClenaghan, during his time at Add Energy. Afia has shared some insights into the value that taking on a work placement student can have from the organization’s point of view..

“A work placement is a valuable experience for individuals as it gives them the opportunity to be immersed in a professional environment and have access to a variety of experts in various departments within an organization.

“A placement gives a real-life and hands-on look at the corporate world and it enables an individual to gain an understanding of everyday work tasks, challenges and discussions, which will hopefully help them decide if this is the path for them or if they would like to keep exploring different options.

“If I could give three pieces of advice to someone considering a work placement, they would be… 

  1. Ask questions! There truly is no such thing as a silly question and everyone is happy to help, as we were all in a similar situation whether freshly out of college, university or a technical institute, so we’re all willing to answer questions.
  2. If you feel as though you want to learn more about a department, process or procedure, then ask your mentor what they can do to help tailor the work experience to suit the individual’s background and interest areas, to ensure they get the most of their placement. 
  3. Get involved – as most placements are limited in duration, it is important to get involved, take notes and immerse yourself within the organization as much as possible. It is understandable to have nerves and want to stand back, but it is crucial for your learning process to get as involved as possible. Your mentor and the team are there to help and support so make the most of it.”

Some great insights from Oliver and Afia into work placement and the benefits it can provide for students, graduates and host organizations. 

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