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Students share their placement work experiences – Part 3

27th Jun 2023

We return to the Blue Cross Rehoming Centre in Burford for the third and final time in our series of work placement articles. This time we catch up with Industry Placement Co-ordinator Katie Shurey.

It was still a beautiful summers day when we caught up with Katie. They had just met with their workplace students when we managed to catch them for a chat before they continued their rounds.

Would you be able to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do at Abingdon & Witney College

“I'm Katie. I'm the industry placement coordinator for Land-based Industries which covers all of Agriculture, Animal Care and Equine. My job is to prepare our students for life in the real world. So I help our students create CVs, create cover letters and apply for industry placements. Like today, I also visit every student regularly on their work placement to see if they need any support, keep them on track and to help them to get as much out of the opportunity as possible”.

Could you tell us a little bit about what work experience opportunities our students have?

“The students that I look after have to complete 315 hours over a two-year placement, and that can be in a variety of places. We work with dairy farms, equestrian centres, vets, rehoming centres, dog groomers, hydrotherapists and physiotherapists. We have loads and loads of contacts. There's such a wide variety within Land-based industries and the opportunities are massive for our students”.

What type of opportunities do you see our students getting once they complete their work experience?

“I've had so many students offered jobs. This time around one of my students has been offered a full-time placement on a racing yard once they finish their placement at the end of May. I have another student who’s been offered a full-time position here once they finish.

Like today, I bump into so many ex-students who have taken on full time roles with the companies we have arranged work placements with. It’s fantastic to see them doing so well”.

How important do you feel work experience is?

“Work experience is vital. It’s really big part of our Land-based qualification just because without that, you just can't prepare yourself for the real world.

Our students get so much out of it. When I see them at the start of the placement and then at the end of the placement, they are different people. They have changed, they've developed, they've become almost adults and ready for that next step. Rather than thinking about school, they are thinking of those next steps. Am I going to do an apprenticeship? Am I going to stay on to do an extra qualification? Am I going on to a job? And that's what I'm my purpose is, to help them with that next step”.

So, what’s next for you today?

I’m off to visit 3 other placements this afternoon, including some of my students who help look after the Rhinos at Cotswold Wildlife Park. It’s going to be a busy day!

We’d like to thank Katie for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk to us today. If Katie has inspired you and you would like to find out more about what life could be like for you at Abingdon & Witney College, then check out some of the links below.