With many companies in the Mid-West region seeking to attract new talent, Shannon Chamber has welcomed an initiative from newly formed indigenous company, Bowsy, which enables final-year students and post-graduates in third-level colleges to undertake projects for companies, linked to their fields of study.
Launched in 2020, with support from Enterprise Ireland, and already awarded best tech start-up at the National Start-Up Awards 2020, the online platform www.bowsy.com provides a facility whereby students can undertake remote tasks and project work for companies on a short-term basis. In doing so, they gain practical work experience in tasks that are related to their fields of study and future career paths whilst the companies they undertake the work for can avail of the opportunity to evaluate the skills and aptitude of imminent graduates.
As co-founder John Brady explains: “The spark that ignited this business idea was seeing my own children work in part-time jobs that had little or no connection to their fields of study. Unless students undertake co-op work during their college years, they get no practical exposure to the business environment they are studying to be part of. That’s why we set up Bowsy. We wanted to give students the opportunity to get paid work experience in areas linked to the modules they are studying, giving them real-life project-related experience to enhance their employment potential.
Already connected to 70% of the Irish student population and supported by a national network of student ambassadors from third-level colleges throughout Ireland, Bowsy is now seeking linkages with companies throughout the Mid-West to provide short-term projects for these students.
The process works when companies join the platform and post tasks that need to be done enabling Bowsy-registered university students to apply for these tasks or projects. Companies coordinate the execution of the task with the student and pay for it when it is done. They also give students a rating for the work done, which acts as a testimonial on their CVs.
Students can be hired for small projects, taking only a few hours, or more complex projects taking up to four months. There is no limit to the number of projects a student may undertake for a company whilst they are completing their studies. The only proviso is that the work must give them practical experience in their fields of study.
Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes describes this initiative as most welcome, particularly for companies who are seeking to hire college graduates.
“By assigning students small tasks and increasing the tasks as they become comfortable with the student’s contribution, they can, in effect, test future potential employees. The only financial outlay is payment for the contract, and it could be money well spent in the long-term.
“There is also payback for the student who can get to work on projects they might never get exposed to in the college environment. They get experience in practical project work which will stand to them in the long term. The students registered are studying an extremely broad range of disciplines that range from digital and creative to business development and strategy right through to computer skills, research, financial services, and data management. Companies are bound to find the skill they need, with the latest thinking to undertake projects that they have not the bandwidth to do in-house. It’s a win-win for the company and the student.
“It is a most encouraging development in work experience for third-level students; they are being given the opportunity to work on projects for leading -edge companies. From a Chamber perspective, this is the ideal way to showcase the great work being done by companies in this part of Ireland that students might not otherwise have heard of or considered as a career opportunity. It has the potential to attract a pipeline of talent to the Mid-West region, and once here, the students won’t need to move elsewhere. We would encourage companies from all sectors to avail of this additional resource for their businesses,” added Ms Downes.
Further information on how this initiative works can be found at www.bowsy.com