Lessons from my Year in Industry

For many students, the spring season is about planning and preparing to kickstart their careers. Some students look to find a Year In Industry experience to gain the soft and technical skills needed to be successful in the workplace and in their chosen industry.

This March, DVLA kicks off two ‘Year in Industry’ placement programmes: Digital Attraction and Computer Science. Both offer penultimate-year university students an opportunity to be part of DVLA’s innovative digital community through a 12-month placement. The Year in Industry programme is part of DVLA’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CoDE), an innovative development programme that offers entry-level roles within DVLA’s IT Teams.

Having now completed her placement role, Digital Attraction student Milena Fernandez De Carvalho talks to us about her decision to do an industrial placement with DVLA. Keep reading, as Milena reflects on what she’s learned on her journey and how it has made her more employable for future jobs.

Want to kickstart your career in DVLA‘s Digital Team?

Discover all programme peaks!

Hi Milena, tell us more about your background!

I’m a 24-year-old from Remscheid, Germany. Before moving to the UK, I travelled across Europe, Asia and Australia and lived six months in Lisbon, Portugal and two years in Sydney, Australia. Nowadays, I’m studying in the third year of my BSc (Hons) International Tourism Management degree at Swansea University and completing the Digital Attraction placement at DVLA.

Milena and team at an Awards Ceremony during the Year in Industry programme

What attracted you to apply for the Year in Industry programme?

For me, the Digital Attraction Year in Industry programme was a great opportunity to put my two years of university knowledge into practice. It also allowed me to gain professional work experience before graduation and expand my network and my career prospects. I believe that the best place to do so is a dynamic organisation that believes in investing in the skills and development of its people. I can honestly say that I found exactly what I was looking for with DVLA!

What have you gained from the scheme?

Completing my placement at DVLA was an incredibly invaluable and enriching experience. Not only did I gain a better understanding of how large organisations operate, but I also gained the soft and technical skills required to succeed in it.

I also gained confidence in my own abilities. This was down to my team encouraging me to put my knowledge to the test and enabling me to make valuable contributions. The team also provided me with support, guidance and various training opportunities which allowed me to further develop and grow professionally. Not to mention, I was able to take advantage of the numerous networking opportunities I’ve received. Overall, I believe completing the placement with DVLA has given me enhanced career prospects as the experience gained makes me a more competitive candidate for future job opportunities.

Milena and her colleague presenting at a careers fair during her Year in Industry programme

How will the acquired knowledge and skills aid you in the future?

The range of knowledge and skills you acquire during your placement with DVLA can greatly benefit you in your future endeavours. The practical work experience you gain will make you more confident in yourself, your abilities and taking on new challenges.

The experience is also useful in shaping your future as you’ll gain a better understanding of your aspirations and goals, helping you make more informed decisions about your career. Not to mention, it helps you establish and maintain a strong professional network. All in all, the acquired knowledge and skills provide improved employability prospects as the experience gained makes you a valuable asset to any organisation and a more competitive candidate for future job opportunities.

Why is DVLA an employer of choice?

From the strong sense of purpose to the professional development opportunities and supportive and inclusive workplace culture, DVLA truly stands out as an employer of choice. It is clear that DVLA values its employees and places a high priority on creating a positive, inclusive and fulfilling workplace culture.

In large part thanks to its commitment to embracing and promoting diversity. Working here also allows you to feel a strong sense of purpose as you’re not just aiding in building the digital brand, but also making a difference by helping others learn more about digital careers and find their true career paths.

In terms of growth opportunities, the organisation not just encourages but invests in the pursuit of its employee’s training and development. Various resources and support are provided for you to upskill, advance in your career and achieve your goals. DVLA is overall a great organisation to work at.

What advice would you give someone looking to apply to the programme?

Milena and her colleague presenting to students at a careers fair during her Year in Industry programme

Go for it! Completing your placement with DVLA is a fantastic opportunity. My advice for anyone who wants to complete their placement with DVLA would be to not be afraid to step out of their comfort zone and make the most of their time. Take initiative and make use of all the opportunities available to you. From utilising training and development opportunities to getting involved in mentoring and networking at events. You’ll leave with an abundance of newly acquired skills, experience, knowledge and connections that will benefit you.

Hear from Computer Science placement alumni!

Catch up with placement students Luke Clifton and Phoebe Alderman to hear more about their Computer Science Year in Industry