Mannok’s two most recent placement students have received Innovation In Placement awards from Ulster University, Lucy Curran received the first place award and Jodi Curtis collected a second place award for their innovative placement experiences at Mannok. Mannok employed the two local students from Ulster University, Magee Campus, from September 2020 – September 2021, during the student’s third of their four-year degree courses.

Lucy who is studying Information Technologies, and Jodi, who is studying Software Engineering, were each assigned mentors, Conor Baxter and Ryan Doherty respectively, from the Business Change department of the company. The individual mentors ensured both students had their own bespoke development plans focusing on different aspects of the business to gain an invaluable, diverse and practical experience at Mannok.

Over the course of their twelve-month, full-time, paid placement, the students worked in various divisions of Mannok and were involved in a number of projects as they were studying different degrees and had different interests.

Lucy had a keen interest in organisational change and project management, therefore, a natural fit with the company’s Operational Excellence Programme led by Conor. Conor carefully planned the placement for Lucy to compliment both her interests and degree and included a timeline of key projects, targets and skill development.

Throughout Lucy’s placement and following Conor’s strategic planning and daily meetings, despite working from home for the most part of the placement, Lucy was able to gain experience in a range of the company’s departments including packaging, IT and finance, where she assisted with implementing of Lean manufacturing initiatives to improve productivity and efficiency and became certified in Lean & OpEx to a Yellow Belt standard as part of company’s partnership with IT Sligo.

Like Lucy, Jodi also had a varied and valuable experience at Mannok and gained a Lean & OpEx to a White Belt standard certificate. Jodi was interested in learning more about business analysis and solutions through software development. Ryan being the company’s Solutions Architect planned Jodi’s placement and included interesting and contemporary projects which provided real-life solutions for the company.

Jodi actively participated in the development and rollout of a paperless picking app for the company’s packaging division as well as extensive testing and analysis to ensure the business could adapt to new Brexit protocols.

Caroline McCaffrey, HR Manager of Mannok, commenting on the importance of supporting young people in the local area and the value of a placement year for students, said,

“I am delighted for both students and congratulate them on their awards, they have really excelled during their twelve-month placements. Their level of work has been excellent and they have developed so much as professionals in their fields of interest. I have no doubt that once they start their career paths this experience will stand to them.

I would also like to commend Conor and Ryan in the Business Change department, despite Covid-19 restrictions, they provided the students with supportive and tailored placements through regular virtual meetings and strategic planning, which led to each student’s personal and professional development.

Placement experiences are so important for both the students and Mannok as a company. We have a number of opportunities available for young people including our graduate, apprenticeship and degree programmes to suit anyone who wants to start their career at Mannok. It is our ambition to retain talent locally to help build a sustainable, skilled workforce in this region for the future.”

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