LCF engages with companies of varying sizes and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are a major part of this. Last year alone we worked 1068 SMEs worldwide. By working with an SME students experience all aspects of a business and can play a valuable role in the day to day running of the company.
The Industry Partner SME award acknowledges the amazing support our SMEs give to our students. From paid short and long term placements to talks and live projects, the time SMEs invest in LCF in crucial to student development.
London based Hudson Shoes was voted winner by both staff and students for their long term support of LCF students. Here we speak to Merchandising Manager, Emma Ramsay about what she looks for in placement students and why it is important to invest in students.
Hudson Shoes winner of LCF’s IPA 2015 SME award
When asked why it was important to work with students Emma said:
As LCF alumni it is great to come back and give students opportunities which could further their careers. Personally for me it is a great opportunity to work with young and enthusiastic individuals who are keen to learn. As a company we believe in the investing in students and have, in various ways, been involved with LCF for over a decade!
Emma also discussed the benefits of doing work placements.
Having done a placement myself, there is nothing quite like real experience. It’s an opportunity to see different aspects of the business and get involved in other areas. You never really know what a job is like until you’ve actually done it, so it is a great way to make sure you’ve made the right decision in terms of the path you’ve chosen. Not only this, but also the sort of company you want to be in – a big corporate retailer and a small luxury brand are going to be very different in terms of culture, work load etc.
Gaining relevant experience is difficult for any student and Emma has advice for those looking for work.
We like to see an enthusiasm and desire to learn. It is understood that students on placement will have little previous experience so it comes down to attitude and personality. It’s important to come across as confident and assured, but aware that you are starting at the bottom and still have a lot to learn.
I’ve successfully offered jobs to a few of our placement students at the end of their degree, you’ve seen them grow and know that they’ll fit in with your office. In some ways you could say a placement os the longest interview ever! We’ve recently offered a job to our last placement (who is currently back for her 4th year to finish her BAFM degree) because we were so impressed with her work ethic and dedication over the last 18 months. She is an international student, although we’ve had placements come back full time in the past, they have always been UK students, so for the first time we are currently working through the rather complicated legal system to ensure we are able to secure her a VISA to stay and work with us, but it’s all worth it when you know you’re getting someone who has already proven their loyalty to your brand.