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How University College Dublin makes its students job-ready

A team from University College Dublin was in town for a pre-departure briefing with Indian students enrolled for 2018 fall intake. Ms Leonie Phipps, Career & Skills Consultant, UCD Career Development Centre, spoke with BrainGain Magazine about opportunities for Indian Students in Ireland.
BY R. Sidharth |   10-07-2018

Ms. Leonie Phipps

Ms. Leonie Phipps joined University College, Dublin (UCD) as a Career & Skills Consultant in July 2017. Ms. Phipps works with the College of Engineering and Architecture. Driven by a passion for enhancing student employability, Ms Phipps works with students on a one to one basis helping them with career planning, effective applications, and interview techniques. She also designs and delivers career management and skills workshops. Ms. Phipps spoke to BrainGain Magazine about the career progression and related opportunities for international students in Ireland.

Please tell us about UCD.
UCD is among the top universities in Ireland. It is ranked 1st in Ireland and 75th in the world in QS Graduate Employability rankings. It’s a nice, big, open university, and is the biggest one in terms of campus size in Ireland. We have good programmes in subjects like engineering, computer science, and finance. The UCD Smurfit School is ranked one of the best business schools in Ireland and is among the best in Europe. ( Business School Rankings, Financial Times).

A majority of the masters courses in Ireland are of a 12-month duration. How do they differ from a two-year course?
Most of the courses are for one year. Some of the conversion courses might be for two years. For example, at UCD we have a two-year masters in engineering programme. It is longer because students have to do an internship in Ireland. So, if you have to do an internship, the programme is longer, but generally it is for one year.

The one-year courses are intensive and the credits are similar to a 2-year course in the US. It’s just the structure and setup of the programmes and how they are delivered within a US structure is different from how they are delivered within an Irish context. The programmes on offer are very much the same.

How does UCD help students get ready for employment?
UCD has a big careers team, and all our career consultants have worked with the industry in recruitment and HR positions. Our Career Development Centre helps arrange one-to-one career guidance sessions, mock interviews, and psychometric testing for students. Students can avail comprehensive interview preparation with direct feedback on their CV’s and communication skills. We also provide video recordings of mock interviews to students to help them improve their non-verbal communication.

University College Dublin

We hold career workshops during lunch time and evening hours to help students learn how to make good CVs and job applications, how to set up LinkedIn profiles, how to network with people, and other topics. We organize a lot of employer talks and presentations on campus where big multinationals like Microsoft and Amazon as well as start-ups talk about their internships and graduate recruitment programmes.

Please tell us more about the graduate recruitment programmes.
You can apply for graduate programmes in your final year. It is a two-year contract with an employer designed for students who have 0-2 years of work experience. Over the two-year period, students do 4 rotations of six months with different departments. For example, if you are from a computer science background, you can complete six months in departments like software engineering, networking, and operations. This gives students technical and operational knowledge and an opportunity to test out different areas before they commit to something full-time. Students can be offered a permanent offer if they do well in the programme.

How does UCD help Indian students adjust to Ireland culturally and socially?
Culturally, Irish are quite similar to the Indians. We are also a family-oriented society who like to get together and celebrate. There are over 150 clubs and societies in UCD including an Indian society. There is a society for virtually every subject, even a Harry Potter one. We encourage all our students to join these clubs as they organize many different events on campus throughout the academic year.

We also encourage students to participate in sports, volunteering and fundraising initiatives, and other extra-curricular activities to help develop their soft skills along with their academic and technical skills.




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