Two Civil Engineering students from NUI Galway are travelling in China this month as part of a Professional Experience Programme. Here’s the full story…
The Career Development interacts with business and industry to promote the NUI Galway Professional Experience Programme (PEP) for students. PEP is an integral module of a number of NUI Galway undergraduate and postgraduate academic programmes. PEP offers participating students an opportunity to avail of work experience relevant to their programme of study. Students gain a practical appreciation of the needs and modus operandi of business and industry and they are given an opportunity to develop additional skills relevant in the workplace.
Since 2011, four 3rd year civil engineering students at NUI Galway carry out their PEP in Shenzhen Graduate School of Tsinghua University, China for 3 months each year. The Chinese organisation covers the living expense for NUI Galway visiting students. This initiative allows NUI Galway engineering students to gain work experience in China.
The professional experience is an example of work-based learning and the engineering placement experience will improve the employability of students. Over 96% of civil engineering students have achieved a successful industrial placement in the past three years despite the economic downturn period, indicating that NUI Galway civil engineering students are very much welcomed on the job market.
The students who conduct their PEP in Shenzhen, China, join site water and wastewater treatment projects and conduct laboratory testing. “This experience not only benefits students in gaining work experience, but also benefits NUI Galway in long-term international collaborations with Chinese institutes since Tsinghua University is among the top 2 universities in China.” says Dr Piaras Ó hEachteirn, Head Of Civil Engineering. Tsinghua University was ranked 52nd in the Times Higher Education’s world university rankings in 2012-2013 and was ranked 31st in the subject of Engineering and Technology. Dr. Xinmin Zhan, the PEP coordinator for the civil engineering discipline, who established this link between NUI Galway and Tsinghua University and who is also funded by Tsinghua Global Scholars Fellowship Initiative to conduct collaborative research, believes that working in Shenzhen, a vigorous metropolis, will shape the students’ careers through work in different cultures.