Access to the Workplace

DCU’s Access to the Workplace Programme provides DCU Access students with a high quality work placement during their summer break, hosted by leading Irish companies participating in the programme.

With many DCU Access students relying on summer employment to save for the upcoming academic year, the commitment of our Access to the Workplace partners is critical in enabling students to save, while also preparing for work in a professional environment and gaining experience in their chosen field.

DCU’s Access Programme is the largest programme of its kind in Ireland, supporting nearly 1,200 students in the 2019/20 academic year. It makes third level education attainable to talented students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and provides a range of personal, financial and academic supports to enable students to thrive and excel in their studies in DCU.

The DCU Access to the Workplace Programme is an additional opportunity that is offered to Access students who are in the second year of their studies in DCU. It was developed through a collaboration between DCU’s Access Service and DCU Educational Trust.

Benefits for participating employers

  • An opportunity to engage with talented young students from the DCU Access programme
  • Provides companies with highly-motivated students who are workplace-ready
  • An opportunity for companies to mentor young talent
  • An opportunity for companies to further build relationships with the DCU community
  • Promotional opportunities as a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative

Benefits for participating students

  • Opportunity to take part in at least four weeks of a meaningful work placement
  • Opportunity to be mentored by experienced staff members in their chosen field
  • Practical training in how to prepare for the working environment
  • Paid work placement in a collaborative work environment

Employer requirements and eligibility

  • Willing to employ a student for a minimum of 4 weeks and maximum of 12 weeks during June –
    Aug 2020
  • Willing to provide at least 30 hours per week at a minimum rate of €10 per hour
  • Willing to agree to the terms listed in the DCU Access to the Workplace employer charter that
    will be provided by the DCU Educational Trust team
  • The Access to the Workplace philanthropic support programme is open to organisations who
    support the DCU Access Scholarship programme.

Access to the Workplace Partner Companies

A&L Goodbody
Ark Life
BC McGettigan Limited
Bonnington Hotel
CAE Parc Aviation
Codex Office Solutions
Colgate Palmolive
Collen Construction
County Monaghan Fund
CRH Group
Fidelity Investments Ireland
Fingal County Council
Highfield Healthcare
Irish Distillers
Irish Life Group
Jones Engineering
Marks and Spencer
Mason Hayes & Curran
Matthews Coach Hire
McGarrell Reilly
McKeon Group
MUFG Investor Services
National Recruitment Federation
National Standards Authority of Ireland
National Treasury Management Agency
Ornua Foods
State Street
Ulster Bank
William Fry
Willis Towers Watson
Zurich Europe

Access to the Workplace 2019 Pilot Evaluation

The 2019 pilot of the Access to the Workplace Programme enabled 50 DCU Access students to find high-quality summer employment in 39 established workplaces and to generate a modest income during their summer break.

DCU Educational Trust and DCU’s Access Service were keen to monitor outcomes and to evaluate the impact of the pilot programme for both students and companies. In order to do this, students completed a pre-placement survey and a post-placement reflective log. S3 Solutions were also commissioned to conduct an independent evaluation by gathering additional qualitative data through 25 student and 22 company interviews.

Below is an overview of some of the key findings from the independent evaluation of the 2019 pilot programme. The full pilot impact review can be viewed here.

Student Impact

  • 440 weeks of placements were completed by participating students
  • Participating students collectively earned approximately €180,000
  • The quality of placements distinguished the experience, with 94% of students surveyed stating they would have been unable to secure a placement of similar quality through their own networks
  • 72% of students interviewed felt the programme had increased their motivation in relation to their degree and career
  • 100% of students interviewed noted that the programme had helped to build their confidence and capacity in at least one of the following areas:
    – Working in an office environment
    – How to act and present yourself
    – Delivering presentations and public speaking
    – Using software and programmes
    – Working on their own against a work plan
    100% of students would recommend the programme to other students

Company Impact

  • Companies viewed participation as an opportunity to build on their Corporate Social Responsibility strategy while also adding to diversity and inclusion to the workplace
  • The programme provided an opportunity for staff development by giving team members a new line management or mentoring responsibility
  • Students helped with the immediate company workload and brought new perspectives into the workplace, helping to “freshen things up”
  • 91% of companies felt their experience of the pilot programme had either met or exceeded their expectations
  • 100% of partner companies plan to offer an Access to the Workplace placement in 2020
  • Access to the Workplace partner companies pledged an additional €395,000 to support scholarships for DCU Access students

Would you like more information?