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A Brief story of Placements, Pandemics and Pathways

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A Brief story of Placements, Pandemics and Pathways

At a recent DMA North Council meeting we discussed how student placements are under threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. It’s no surprise given how many organisations are struggling right now, either putting staff on furlough or having to make redundancies. It’s a very trying time to say the least. This has real implications for talent development and recruitment. It also has an impact on organisational sustainability through developing and retaining appropriate talent.

Yet at the same time, many employers are still going ahead with placements. Arguably, with the unprecedented disruption to the economy and education, there has never been a more important time for students to gain the relevant experience if at all possible.

Placements are a key route through University education and play a major part in shaping both final year success and early career opportunities. For example, 89% of placement students graduate with a 1st or 2.1 (ManMet University Business School 2018 data). As a launch pad for full-time graduate employment, the entire career pathway trajectory of placement students is often greatly accelerated.

ManMet University offers over 1,000 placements every year with local, national and international employers. Many are members of the DMA and many doing the recruiting are alumni of ManMet, who return to recruit work-ready students. Large employers include Bentley, WPP, L’Oreal, Euromonitor, Disney.

Some of the adjustments employers are making include:

  • Start dates may be later than usual (possibly Aug/Sep 2020)
  • Recruitment process led by online selection (interviews via skype, zoom, jitsi, teams, slack…)
  • Equipping placement students to work from home

So placements are still going ahead. While the pandemic may affect numbers of opportunities available, it’s more important that employers and Universities collaborate to offer placements for talent development. The sustainability of what we do partly depends on it. If you have an opportunity for a graduate and want to find out more about how we can connect you to the students, please do get in touch with me directly or Anna Lancashire -DMA North Community Manager.

Jeff McCarthy
Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing and Employability Lead

Manchester Metropolitan University

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