For businesses to remain competitive, recruiting and hiring the most capable talent is a requirement. With technical employment deficits in many sectors more commonly being a driving force behind the need to future proof talent, Learn + Work Programmes and academic and professional partnerships are becoming increasingly common. The Learn + Work model is designed to blend the strengths of a university education with the advantages of on-the-job apprenticeship-style learning. This partnership approach has been adopted by technical and engineering experts LotusWorks, and Technological University Dublin.
Bringing Theory & Practice Together
Most students value learning experiences that clearly link theory and practice as they make them feel better prepared for employment. In 2021, the Learn + Work programme between LotusWorks and TUD commenced. Each year, students studying the BSc in Process Instrumentation and Automation (Learn & Work Model) spend time in full time study of industry aligned modules followed by time on placement with LotusWorks. The paid placement means students are being mentored and coached by technical professionals and exposed to real-life high-tech industry facilities. Commenting on the development of talent and importance of academic and professional partnerships, Gareth Carr, Client Manager with LotusWorks said: “Students must apply through the CAO. They go through a two-step screening process involving an aptitude test and an interview before being offered a place on the course. This is hugely valuable in identifying “right-fit” candidates for our graduate programme. Blended learning must be purposeful, and technology should be used to promote learning experiences that would otherwise not be possible. LotusWorks is committed to nurturing talent for the future.
Through the successful collaboration, TU Dublin is now experiencing additional benefits, with LotusWorks having recently provided the University with state-of-the-art conductivity test equipment for their Instrumentation Laboratory on the Blanchardstown Campus. David Peyton, Course coordinator for the Learn + Work programme in Process Instrumentation and Automation said: “Having this state-of-the art equipment made available to the students is invaluable. It puts everything into context for them. They’re getting to work with the exact test equipment that they would within industry environments. Its bringing to life what they can expect to see and work with on a daily basis during their placement and throughout their career. Partnering with LotusWorks has been a very positive experience – they [LotusWorks] get it and understand the importance of investing in talent for the future. The sponsorship of this test equipment for the university reflects just that. We’re thankful for the generosity shown and that the partnership is continuing.”
The Importance of Nurturing Talent
The placement helps develop personal and interpersonal skills, enhances subject knowledge and subject-specific skills, and provides an insight into the size and scale of projects within the advanced technology and life science sectors. “The size and scale of the facilities that LotusWorks teams work on can only be understood when out in the field. The magnitude of the work involved in delivering life-changing products only then comes to reality for these students. Being in a real situation also provides an enhanced understanding of the practicalities of the work environment and enables students to understand their chosen career paths.” said Carr.
The importance employers attach to work-related learning is evident by the number of students who are offered a permanent job after graduation on the basis of a successful placement. “We’re invested in the students, and they are treated as employees of LotusWorks from day one. We want to make sure they feel part of the team. Students offer a source of skilled labour and an insight into new practices being taught. There’s a feeling of mutual respect, and that’s important to us.”
(Pictured above from left to right is LotuWorks Senior HR Manager Richard, TU Dublin Student Alex & LotusWorks Site Lead Gareth)