24th January

Aston University student James Taylor has been chosen out of hundreds of students by the Association for Sandwich Education and Training (ASET) to write a web log on his experience of his work based placement.

As the UK’s national professional body for students partaking in work based placements, ASET is supported strongly by Aston. Applicants around the country competed for the privilege to document and share their experience on the organisations website, but only four lucky students were selected.

23 year old James is currently in his third year of Chemical Engineering and has been given the opportunity of staying at Aston for an extra year to convert his degree into a MEng in Chemical Engineering. At present he is on placement at global specialist chemical company Basell as part of his degree. This is particularly what grabbed ASET’s attention during the selection process.

Since starting at Aston James has been in the top per cent of students on his course, however his academic success hasn’t always been a priority of his career ambitions! At the age of 16, James left his school in Hinkley, Leicestershire after the completion of GCSEs to begin training as an electrician. His love for cars then led him to take up a position at a garage, however it was here that James decided to take the brave step of going back to college in search of an education to gain greater career opportunities.

Since taking this first step back onto the education ladder and with the success he has achieved through it so far, James has had no regrets.

‘I would definitely recommend university. When I considered going back to education it seemed like a huge mountain to climb, but when I knew that the sandwich course at Aston was available, I appreciated how much I would learn and opted for it with no hesitation’, said James.

James is a strong supporter of Aston’s encouragement for students to take a work based placement as part of their course and said: ‘If a sandwich year is available on a course I would definitely recommend it. It gives you a real insight into the job and often can help you decide what sector of the industry you would like to go into.’

The other students chosen by ASET are studying a variety of degrees and work placements, and like James, they all value the importance of gaining experience through a work based placement whilst in education.

He is joined on the website by Claire Daly from Bath University (who is studying for a BSc in European Studies with Modern Languages), Nikki Davis from Nottingham Trent University (who is studying for a BA in Furniture and Product Design), and Louise Longman from the University of the West of England (who is taking a BSc in Biomedical Sciences).

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research