So what is the SUCCESS scholarship?
“It’s not just a scholarship. We are being interviewed by representatives from different companies within the industry who take on students from first to third year for 8-10 week paid internships over summer. Once you are successful in getting a place, you also receive a bursary to help you with your studies whilst at University.”
So what year are you in?
“Most of us are in our first year. Some of us had written our application for the scheme before we even started University in September, because they have to be sent off by the middle of October.”
Wow that’s pretty intense – what made you want to apply for the scheme?
“Loads of different things really; it’s a unique opportunity to gain industry experience and develop a professional network. There are really not many opportunities like this, because work experience is notoriously difficult to get as a Civil Engineer and this is so much more than just experience! We’ve heard from students who are already part of the scheme and they’re in such a strong position when they graduate, as they have on the job training and have created such good links with the company that they worked for. It’s a bit strange to be in first semester of our first year thinking about job security in the future, but this scheme means that the successful applicants won’t have to worry as much about that when they graduate.
Plus unlike a lot of internships, this is a paid position, so getting the experience isn’t a financial burden, which means that everyone is able to apply and doesn’t have to worry about not being able to afford it.”
Dressed to impress – Two of the students who I spoke to
I’m impressed, it took me until third year to feel ready for a formal interview! How has the University supported you in prepping for the interview?
"The Engineering department held workshops to help prepare for the interview, and you can ask for personal help if you need it. The department has definitely set us up to succeed - there isn’t anywhere else that provides you with an opportunity like this right off the bat!"
Thanks – and good luck with the interviews!
The SUCCESS Scholarship team very kindly invited me to stick around for lunch which gave me the opportunity to talk to some of the industry reps and a student who was currently on the scheme.
So from an industry perspective – why are you part of the programme, and why Southampton in particular?
“I think the main point is to improve links between industry and students, and to start making those links when students are in their first and second year. The thing about Engineering at Southampton that makes it so attractive for us is that the department produces good engineers year in, year out. As well this being very good for business, we provide on the job training across a range of developments so when the student graduates, they can start working for us from day one; they know the company and they know how we work, so they are ideal recruits! Of course, because they have such great experience, we have to encourage them to stay with us. Usually they have several companies offering them jobs"
Everyone approves of the free lunch
What do you think you gained from the six-week placement?
"So much I don’t know where to start. I think a big benefit was the friends that I made within the company. As an intern you are treated as a regular member of the team, and that makes a big difference – to feel so valued when you are just starting out. It’s going to have a huge impact on my dissertation as well, because I know people in the business that I can talk to and get advice from. I have such great links with the people in the industry, and that’s invaluable really."
Do you have any advice for people applying for the scheme next year?
"Research the company that you are applying for a position with - sometimes students get confused about which company they are interviewing with. The applicants that stand out are the ones who show good knowledge of the company and what they feel they can bring to the team, even if that’s just enthusiasm. Talk to students who are on the programme in the year above as well; they are the best source of information for those who are unsure what the work will be like and what will be expected of them."
Dedicated student ambassadors directing people to the right place at the Postgraduate Open Day
Tika Widyaningtyas representing social sciences at the Postgraduate Open Day
I would hate to leave without mentioning the Postgraduate Open Day which was on the same day. I really recommend coming to an Open Day if you are interested in Postgraduate study. It’s a great chance to talk to lecturers and current students who can give you a unique perspective on the particular benefits of studying that course at Southampton. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the talks today the Welcome and Finance talks were recorded and are available online, and you can tour the campus using the University’s Virtual Open Day!