An overseas work experience scheme for Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC) students has led to a host of new opportunities including further work, guest talks, and branded assignments.

Health & Social Care, Childcare, Electrical, Construction and Plumbing students made such a positive impression during their placements around the city of Porto, that several employers signed up to continue working with HCUC.

Employers including Diamante Solar, The Center for Cultural and Social Intervention of Palmeira de Faro, Barqueiros Social Welfare Center, Miminho (Portuguese Red Cross) and Enercraf Ltd were involved in providing placements under the international Erasmus+ scheme.

The two-week work placements in Porto, Portugal involved 18 students from a variety of courses who were chosen following a rigorous application and assessment process.

The placements included roles in:

  • Nurseries
  • Care Homes
  • Construction Sites
  • Solar Energy Plants.

Our students worked in a variety of roles for their placements, including construction workers at sites for both commercial and residential buildings, installing solar panels across different sites, as well as carers for both the elderly and the young in nurseries and care homes.

A small group of students also stepped up and took over as Student Leaders over the days where no staff were present at the resort. The local agent in Portugal said, “Learners were 100% focused and participative in everything they were asked to do”, also saying “All of your students are socially brilliant... congratulations to the college for recruiting such excellent learners.”

Liam Plumridge, Head of Employability at HCUC, said: “Many of the learners were out on placement for 10-12 hours and were undertaking some real complex and exciting tasks. From the first-hand experience that me and the team saw, Portugal is an exciting but also challenging environment for these young people to work in due to the significant language barrier. Learners also got the opportunity to visit Braga and Porto with students from Hungary which was a great enrichment opportunity for them.”

“We received some excellent feedback from the employers and the agent. The best feedback, however, was from our learners.”

Childcare and Education student Safah Rahimi said “I thought it’d be a great opportunity to see a different country, live independently for a bit and explore things on my own. It’s a great opportunity and if you make friends along the way, it’ll be even better.”

David Cullen, an Electrical student said “I was the first to say yes, I’ve always wanted to work abroad and this would be an amazing opportunity. The whole general experience was amazing, I always wanted to work abroad because I love travelling. It’s a lifetime experience, it will change your life.”

Several the employers have also agreed to continue working with HCUC following the scheme, whether that be offering more placements for similar schemes in the future, or other activities at HCUC.

The colleges will continue to provide equivalent overseas work experience opportunities, including placements for 80 students from across the college in 2022-23, under the new Turing scheme. The Turing scheme will carry forward any remaining funding for the scheme post-Brexit.

Listen to some of the amazing feedback students had about the entire experience, along with some images of them at their placements, below:
click here to view the video.