ALMOST 500 University of Chester students have taken on roles from fairtrade ambassadors to conservation assistants during work experience.

They have also supported organisations including businesses, charities, schools and tourist attractions.

Work Based Learning (WBL) placements have been successfully completed by students this term in organisations across Chester, the North West, North Wales, and the wider UK.

After the challenges for such initiatives in recent years due to Covid-19, the team at the University’s Centre for Professional and Economic Development is thrilled that its WBL placements have been enjoyed by more than 450 students.

They have been welcomed by placement providers from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and NANNA Rescue Animal Shelter to CTC Psychological Services, Coleg Cambria and Lyme National Trust.

The flagship Enhancing Your Employability through WBL module has been running successfully in various forms for more than 25 years at the university.

At its core is the five-week placement that is undertaken during the second year of study.

Many can lead to employment, with Encirc, the most sustainable glass container producer of its kind in the world, providing four Chester Business School students with full-time paid positions this summer after they impressed on their placements.

Alistair Booth, WBL Team Leader, said: “Work Based Learning is a unique opportunity for students to develop their employability skills within the workplace, whilst giving employers an opportunity to influence the workforce of the future and gain help, support and input. Students can be given a specific project, offer fresh ideas and bring a new perspective.

“The second-year undergraduates have taken on a wide range of roles for their five-week placements, brought their specific subject knowledge from diverse disciplines across the University and applied this in real-world settings, supporting organisations in new and existing activities.”

Michelle Lewis, visitor operations manager at Chester Zoo, said: “It’s great being connected with the local University and helping an undergraduate see how a large visitor attraction runs.”