Walsall College higher education students have boosted their job prospects after completing work experience placements in Italy through Gecko Programmes Ltd, part of the European Union’s Erasmus Plus Programme.
The college is working in partnership with Gecko Programmes Ltd to provide university level students with opportunities to participate in funded European work experience programmes in Italy or Spain.
Opportunities are available in a number of industries including fashion, art and design, music sport, IT and marketing.
Following successful interviews, HNC Photography students, Kathryn Lesny and Marta Jarco and HNC Graphic Design student, Kira Marks spent 15 days in Lanciano, central Italy working with local companies in their chosen fields.
Kathryn developed her photography skills working for an events management firm and had the opportunity to attend exhibitions and conferences during her placement. She said: “This was such a great experience as it’s really opened my eyes up to all the work involved in organising events. It’s made me more passionate about specialising in event photography when I finish my course.
“This was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone but it has given me so much more confidence and I would definitely do it all again if I had the chance.”
Kira supported a local museum to hold workshops for children as part of her placement and said: “I enjoyed immersing myself in a different culture for two weeks and seeing how others live. We also had the chance to visit Rome and see some of the incredible sights.
“I’m still unsure which area I wish to pursue a career in but I know it’s definitely in the creative area and this will look great on my CV and help me to stand out when applying for jobs.”
Director of Quality and Higher Education at Walsall College, David Turner, commented: “Gaining work experience abroad is a fantastic way for students to boost their self-confidence, independence and improve their employability prospects, by giving their CV the edge when they come to apply for jobs.
“We are delighted to be working with Gecko as this unique project is also free for students and funded by the EU’s Erasmus plus programme. Students selected for placements are supported with a number of costs including travel and accommodation and they also receive dedicated mentoring and training whilst on work experience.
“A further seven Walsall College students have also been selected for trips over the next couple of months and we also encouraging more students to apply for the programme which is open until 2022.”