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Asidua's a winner for Ulster students

The relationship between the University of Ulster and Asidua Ltd, a software consultancy and services company based in Belfast, is a clear example of how effective collaboration between an employer, academic staff and a careers service can operate in the best interests of students.

Asidua, with a total workforce of about 120, annually takes about ten Ulster students on one-year placements either working directly for a client or developing software tools and frameworks using the latest technologies and languages. The students thus develop cutting-edge technical skills, through the training and masterclasses provided by the company, invaluable experience of the work environment and crucial employability skills.

Asidua also offers short summer placements to Ulster students who are supported by the university’s innovative online Employability through Work Experience module, worth 10 credits and designed and delivered by the university's Career Development Centre. This encourages students to reflect on their employability skills gained on placement and success is rewarded with the award of a co-curricular certificate. This module is shortly to be incorporated within the university’s employability award, Ulster Edge, making it available to more students.

Asidua is involved on campus in other ways. For example, during Freshers' Week staff promote both Asidua's scholarship programme and the value of placements generally. They engage prospective students and their parents during Open Days, presenting a commercial perspective on careers in IT. Finally, they visit to discuss e-skills and to offer advice through the Faculty of Engineering's Industrial Liaison Panel.

Evidence of effectiveness and success

The impact of this collaboration can be seen in two ways. Firstly, 90% of placement students eventually gain graduate employment with Asidua. Secondly, all Asidua’s placement students have attained at least a 2:1 in their degrees and many highlight the extra academic motivation provided by the placement with 50% indicating that their eventual grade was higher than they had anticipated.

• Winner - AGCAS 2011 Award for Excellence: Work-related Learning


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Tags: University of Ulster Asidua work-related learning work experience placement University ICT skills awards case studies

Created on: 17 November 2011

Last updated: 06 January 2012


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