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Articles > Work & Training May, 29, 2015

STEM: doing a year in industry will give you a better uni experience

Jaime Fowler
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Working for a year in Industry as a manufacturing engineer pre-university, as well as being a STEM ambassador, I feel very strongly that careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are underrepresented.

As an ambassador for STEM, I have visited many schools and colleges who are trying to promote careers in STEM and open eyes to the less well-known routes into STEM careers. As I myself am doing a year in industry I’ve been telling college students all about how great it is and why they should do one too before going off to university. As a STEM ambassador I’ve learned many new things and met many other interesting people in the same boat! So here are my personal pros and cons of a year in industry…

10 Reasons to do a Pre-university Year in Industry

1. Independence -You can move out and gain independence, renting a house and sharing with a yini (year in industry) is a totally different experience to student accommodation. There are ups and downs; smoke alarms that break and beep for days, tumble driers that refuse to dry your clothes and then flood your kitchen and of course cooking and cleaning for yourself. All valuable life experience! Welcome to the freedom to eat pizza for breakfast whenever you want, be as messy as you want, drink as much as you want with no parents to stop you! Don’t get me wrong, you’ll learn to be responsible and boring but it’s all fun.

2. Experience – you gain experience in the field you wish to go into, why wouldn’t you want to check out your career to make sure you’re making the right decision with your study choices.

3. Money – you get paid! It makes the world go round – you can manage your own money – the boring stuff – rent, bills, essentials, and then the fun things, random things you’ve always wanted but never had the money for! As well as saving so you can live comfortably during your degree.

4. New friends – you meet loads of new people, be it yinis you work with or general work colleagues! And as a STEM ambassador you meet even more – it’s great, I love making new friends and meeting new people with similar interests to me.

5. Contacts – you meet a lot of important people in your role as a yini and have the opportunity to impress – pull this off and you get valuable references for summer placements, sandwich year placements in the industry, and jobs once you’ve graduated!

6. Sponsorship – there’s the opportunity to be sponsored by your company through university – I mean who wouldn’t want to finish uni with a guaranteed job and no debts!

7. Knowledge- you’ll have practical knowledge when you go to university, and will be able to visualise how the work you’re doing relates to the real world and understand the work you’re doing more.

8. Responsibility – you gain responsibility in the workplace and at home, being responsible for projects at work, being responsible for money, yourself and your home. It’s surprising how fast you grow up and mature when responsibility is thrown at you and it’s all for the better.

9. Fun – of course it’s fun! The “real world” isn’t all doom and gloom!

10. Why not?! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Reasons not to do a pre-university Year in Industry

1. You’ll end up being the only person in your student flat with a normal sleeping pattern – but that’s not too bad and it’s easily rectified!

If you’re interested in a STEM career then a Year in Industry is a great beginning! You won’t regret it! Even if you end up hating the placement you’re on you’ll have ruled it out for the future and saved yourself a wasted degree! It’s a win win so why not!

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