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Make Employing a Student Work for Both of You

University of Bedfordshire student Thomas Hedison has won the prestigious National Student Employee of the Year – Step up to Leadership award, following on from his success at winning the regional title in the same category.

As a third-year Advertising and Marketing Communications student, 21-year-old Thomas combined his degree study with part-time work as a retail assistant at Next PLC, where he was quickly promoted to Office Manager. Thomas also worked as a Student Ambassador for the University and was Co-President of the Bedfordshire Enactus Society.

Students can be a real asset to the workplace. In his time at Next, Thomas was required to bring a lot of transferable skills to the table. For example, his degree gave him the ability to solve problems and work to deadlines.

Employing a student whether it is part-time, work placement or graduate employment, requires effort from both parties. For any employment to be a success, the employer has to be prepared to take on certain responsibilities, a diluted version of those required when taking on any new staff. If an employer is unprepared or is not willing to spend some time helping students get a grasp of what’s happening in the workplace, it can lead to the student being left without a clear idea of the role, being bored and generally getting under everyone’s feet.

As a manager it is your job to train, motivate, guide and evaluate your student employees so they get the best from their experience and are able to contribute to your team effectively. You also serve as a model for good work habits, so be sure to present yourself appropriately, both in the way you dress and your manners. Demonstrate good punctuality, dependability, co-operation, honesty and efficiency.

Most training occurs on-the-job with the supervisor demonstrating and describing the correct methods and skills to be utilised. In doing so, you should avoid these common training errors:

    • Giving too much information at one time;
    • Giving instructions too rapidly;
    • Failure to determine the student's level of experience;
    • Not permitting enough opportunity for questions;
    • Be careful not to brush them off just because they are a student.

Student employees are often responsive to guidance and they accept work evaluations as they accept academic measurement. Many students want to get this experience so when they come into the workplace, they are enthusiastic and willing to learn.

Priya Chauhan is the Recruitment Services Manager at the University of Bedfordshire. If you need any help with student or graduate employment or would like to get involved, contact her on:

M: or
T: 01582 743426

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