Sound advice from the university helps Business Studies student James Woodland secure a placement.

Industry experience is now essential for students. The recent High Fliers report looking at the top 100 UK companies running graduate recruitment schemes reveals that 70% do not even consider applications from graduates without significant industry experience.

BA Hons Business Studies student James Woodland has secured a placement with Airbus, one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers. He will spend the third year of his degree with Airbus in Bristol, having been offered a placement in its operations management department. There were more than 7,000 applicants competing for the three one-year placements on offer. James's performance at the final stage of selection convinced Airbus to offer him a fourth unadvertised placement.

James credits Katherine Leopold, one of the university's employability consultants, for his success: "The advice she gave me was invaluable. We focused on interviews and the practical steps that I could take to improve my chances … I researched the Airbus Way in depth and arrived at the interview armed with information and questions about that culture. I had also prepared the reasons why I thought I would do well in that style of working environment.

"It's an amazing opportunity. This placement is absolutely perfect for me – even better than the advertised placements. It gives me a major step up in my ambition to build a career in the aircraft industry. I was particularly interested in the working culture Airbus promotes – known as the Airbus Way. They encourage people to interact and share their knowledge and experiences.

The number of applications made for the Airbus placements is not that unusual, according to Katherine. Her advice to students need to work very hard now to gain valuable work experience. "Our aim is to give students the confidence and the skills to stand head and shoulders above the rest. James clearly achieved those goals."

Go to our clearing page.