Over the next few weeks, we will be talking to some of our students who have recently completed placements with various companies throughout the UK and abroad, to get their thoughts and experiences on what to expect whilst out on placement.
Placements give you the chance to put into practice the skills and knowledge you gain on your course, as well as gaining experience in the workplace. Placements vary in length from 4 weeks to one year, can be paid or unpaid (depending on Industry/ Sector) and encompass the full range of professions, from Engineering to Accountancy, from Art & Design to Social Work.
We start by speaking to Duncan Kerr who is currently in his 3rd year of Computing for Graphics and Animation. Duncan has recently returned from working with Score (Europe) Ltd in Peterhead.
Name of Company: Score (Europe) Limited
Duration of experience: 3 months
Q: What was your key role and responsibilities?
A: I was made a member of the IT helpdesk technician team in which I had to operate the helpdesk phones and the web-based helpdesk software. This would include dealing with customer requests and providing answers to queries and/or technical resolutions. I also had to carry out essential IT duties such as PC imaging, decommissioning, stock checks, network patching, printer assistance, granting and removing swipe card access to various swipe points, moving of IT equipment and daily back-up tape exchanges.
Q: What did an average days work consist of?
A: Answering phone calls and web-based calls to provide answers to IT queries, providing assistance or technical resolutions through remote desktop connection tools, solving networking problems physically by testing cables, ports, patch panels etc, adding or removing access to requested shared folders, e-mail groups, swipe points and ensuring required authorisation has been provided. Fixing or replacing IT equipment, imaging new PCs or re-imaging infected PCs, decommissioning IT equipment following strict guidelines to ensure specific hardware is saved for re-use and degaussing hard drives to ensure no company data is obtainable. Daily back-up tape exchanges and ensuring that tapes are organised properly and stored in fire-proof safes. Ensuring printer toner and IT equipment stock levels were sufficient and contacting relevant people to order stock if required.
Q: What was the key highlights of your placement?
A: Towards the end of my placement, me and the Deputy IT Helpdesk Supervisor were responsible for upgrading around 80 people’s company mobile phones and ensuring that company emails were set up correctly for the individual, mobile management software was installed and configured correctly and that the mobile network was working correctly with the correct mobile number. This was a huge task and had to be done in a short time frame to ensure that individuals did not lose mobile network access during the transition between each phone.
Q: What are your personal thoughts on the placement?
A: The placement gave me a much greater understanding of how an IT department functions in the real world. Our IT department in Peterhead was responsible for all IT related issues on sites across the globe which was very interesting and challenging since a lot of issues had to be fixed remotely.
Q: What would be your advice to other students thinking of doing a placement?
A: Doing a placement will definitely give you a great head start over others and you will learn a lot of important skills such as formal communication and working with a proper team in your department.