Taking a year in industry

Matt Taylor is a third year Electronic Engineering with Music Technology student, whose organised a year in industry with Philips

You will hear from many students that the University doesn’t do enough to help us get on the career ladder. We are constantly grumbling about how York’s slipping down the league tables due to its declining graduate prospects. The reality (and the confession of most third year students) is that the help is there – but you have to actively seek it out. However, one student I spoke to tells a different story.

Matt Taylor is a third year Electronic Engineering with Music Technology student. He is not graduating this summer, but will be continuing on to do a year in industry, working for Philips in Cambridge, before graduating with a MEng in 2014. While he’s delayed his entry into the job market for another two years, in this two-part series, Matt talks about the advantages a sandwich year can give you when entering the job market and how it was his department who helped him get his placement.

Matt began thinking about careers early on and the idea of a degree with a sandwich placement where he would spend a year in industry instantly appealed to him. “Before I even came to uni I knew I wanted to do this placement year because looking for summer jobs, just any jobs, they’re like ‘have you got experience?’ It’s that whole massive catch 22 situation. And that’s for a bar job. So how much more competitive is it going to be for a engineering job with a competitive company?”

Two years down the line, Matt’s landed a placement with household name, Philips, a company, which focuses on medical research and home healthcare.

“It was organised by the Electronics department who have got some really good relationships with companies [in our field]. In the last few years, Philips have consistently taken on Electrical Engineering students for placements – there were four students from York last year and five this year.”

“I wrote a CV, handed it into the department at the start of the summer term, received feedback, and then they sent my CV off to all the companies they have links with.”

For students lucky enough to be studying Electronic Engineering or Computer Science, a Placement Consultant exists to support them through the process of applying for a sandwich year – a year that could make all the difference to them being offered a job after graduation, as Matt estimates that 30% of York students who do sandwich years get invited back to the company after graduation.

With the help of his department, which has links with companies such as BAE and Dolby, Matt got invited to five interviews. Two offered him a secondary interview – one of which was Philips, and this allowed him a chance to see the company in action.

“[Philips are] developing medical implementation for people to monitor their own healthcare. When I went to see them, they were working on an old person tracking unit that could show you where they were so that if you were concerned you could look them up online.”

Another project Matt saw in progress was a home-improvement one – using your mobile phone to turn on a coffeemaker! “[Philips are about] things like that – home improvement to make people’s lives easier and better.”

Part 2 will be online 05/03.

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