Q. Hi Maria – can tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Maria Oyegbile and I’m studying BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems. I joined the course 2014 as a second-year student after completing my HND, and I’m now coming towards the end of the year-long work placement that we do between second and third year.
Q. Where are you on placement?
I’m with Caledonian Produce, part of the Bakkavor Group, located in Bo’ness, West Lothian. The company supplies prepared foods to Marks and Spencers, it employs over 1500 employees and it’s the biggest company I have ever worked for.
Q. Tell us about your role
I’m the site IT contact supported by the Group Central Information Systems team in Spalding. My role is very varied which makes it more interesting. It ranges from installation of software and hardware to networking, sorting out user errors in person or via proxy, maintenance of IT equipment like printers, scanners, phones and projectors, project management (my favourite), purchasing of IT equipment, working with third-party contractors to resolve user issues, closely working with group IT to resolve issues, training staff in using IT equipment, writing user manuals and carrying out the company IT induction, setting up user company mobiles and desk phones, changing the backup tapes among others.
Q. It sounds like you’ve been doing a lot in the past year! How will this help your studies when you come back?
This experience has been very rewarding and beneficial, I have learnt so much in one year. It’s helped me to better understand what I studied at university before placement and now I have both the practical and academic knowledge. For example, I now understand things like Intranets and Extranets even more after having studied them in one of the modules (Enterprise Systems) in 2nd year.
I’ve also gained confidence in dealing with various individuals and groups of peoples on various levels. I’ve worked on different projects like the file and print server migration, Installation of Internet Explorer 11, upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7, installation of programs on to Virtual servers among others with different managers, individuals and teams. I have had to communicate with them in person, on the phone and also via email and my confidence has grown immensely.
Q. Do you think the experience will help you once you’ve graduated?
I have learnt so much throughout my placement and I believe the skills I have acquired will help me secure a good job after my studies. I have learnt how to be professional, deal with various people, address a large group of people, chair meetings, prepare agendas, and send out minutes among other things.
Q. What support do you have from the University while you were on placement?
I got help even before I applied! I attended placement workshops which encouraged me to apply for placement, placement jobs were well advertised on the university site and also e-Placement Scotland. I got help structuring my CV and also training in interview skills and techniques.
When out on placement, I was assigned a tutor for the duration, Gemma Webster, who has come out to visit me and meet my manager. It was good to know that I have someone I can discuss any work issues with if I needed to. I also have support from Moodle, the university site. There is lots of information that has been put on Moodle to help with the weekly log, portfolio and reports. This information was helpful especially during the initial stages of creating my weblog.
Q. What support do you have from your employer?
On site, I am fully supported by my manager who is very easy to talk to and work with. We regularly have meetings to catch up on any issues or projects that are happening.
I am also fully supported by the Central IS Team in Spalding. Teams range from Infrastructure, Technical Delivery, Desktop Support, Applications Support, Project Managers and Business Analysts among others. They all provided support depending on the sort of issues being dealt with at the time. On occasions, various teams have come on site to help me with ongoing projects like the file and print server migration project.
Q. Sum up the experience in 3 words?
Fantastic, hard work and worthwhile.
Thanks, Maria – and we’re looking forward to having you back on campus!