University placement years better prepare IT students for finding work, graduates say.

University placement years better prepare IT students for finding work, graduates say.

Research among 320 graduates questioned them about their degrees, skills and professions in order to identify and help tackle the challenges facing the IT industry in securing IT talent.

The research revealed that most (81 percent) of those who had done a placement year (a quarter of the total) felt the experience had prepared them for their IT career.

This compared to only 41 percent of graduates who had not taken a placement year either "somewhat or strongly agreeing" that their degree prepared them for their IT roles.

The research was conducted by recruitment firm Experis and IT jobs site Geoff Smith, Experis’ managing director for the UK and Ireland, said: "We used to talk about the importance of a gap year abroad for a person’s development but employers now also want work experience.

"A sandwich course equips students with the relevant skills and experience for work and employers are reassured that these candidates can more easily make the transition from university life to working life."

Smith added: "We’re seeing the attractiveness and importance of sandwich courses within the IT sector, but it's surprising that out of 2,048 computing courses offered in the UK, only 470 offer a placement year.”

Of those graduates that completed a placement year 91 percent were employed at the time of survey. As for those graduates without a placement year, 79 percent were employed.

More than a third of all respondents said their employers did nothing to help them make up any shortfall in the skills needed to perform their role, with three-quarters having to supplement their skills beyond university or employer training with independent learning. Two-thirds paid for extra learning with their own money.