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ATU Students Hone Their Craft with Year Long Work Placement

Students on the ATU B.Sc. in Furniture Making and Architectural Woodworking and B.Sc. in Furniture Design and Manufacture are, for the first time, undertaking a year long work placement as part of their qualification.

Over 30 companies in Ireland and abroad are welcoming students from the BA in Furniture Design and Manufacturing on to their teams as learners embark on their year long work placement. This rich collaboration between industry and education allows students to link theory to practice while the company benefits from an enthusiastic student who brings the latest knowledge, and state of the art training to their workplace, particularly their skills in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software packages.

“We have a number of graduates from ATU Connemara that we rate extremely highly, who bring significant skills and creativity to our team”

Gerry Magee, Managing Director of Allwood Architectural Joinery

As part of the programme each student is assigned a mentor within their placement company, the mentor helps the student to achieve specific competencies and tasks related to the learning outcomes of their degree. This method of mentoring is a valuable way of sharing best practice and experience with the student and is a cornerstone of the success of the placements particularly as, for many of the students, this will be their first time working in a commercial workshop environment.

In addition to mentoring, the on-the-job training that the students receive is blended with the academic requirements of the course via a digital workbook that the students are required to maintain while on placement. This workbook, which is hosted on the PebblePad Learning Platfrom, provides a structure for students to reflect on the diverse learning experiences whilst on Industry Placement. This also helps students make sense of their workplace environment, relate theory to practice and recognise both their personal and professional development.

The companies involved in the placements play a vital role in the students’ development and their investment in the student through knowledge transfer, guidance and feedback, ensures that ATU students graduate with an understanding and focus on how they can progress their careers.

“From the start, I have been integrated into projects and have been taught, all there is to know in order to use everything in an efficient and safe manner. Over time that has left me with much more confidence and expertise in the production processes, in usage of machines and delivering quality to a high standard”.

3rd Year student Dana Beier carried out her work placement with Thomas Montgomery in Bray.

The yearlong work placement is part funded by the Higher Education 4.0 project, which is funded by the Human Capital Initiative under pillar 3.  

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