One of the great experiences you will get from Bredin College programs is the practicum placement. At the end of your training, you enter a four-week practicum placement with an employer where you will have the opportunity to practice skills learned in the classroom. Through this exposure, you will gain a greater awareness of the specific responsibilities and daily tasks in your field of training.
Like most students, it is very common to be excited, maybe even a bit nervous.
However you are feeling about your practicum placement, remember you are not alone. Here is some advice to help you prepare for your upcoming placement.
Research the company before you start
You may not have a chance to meet with your practicum host prior to your first day so make sure you have researched the company. Here are 5 points to address before you start:
- Where is the company located and how far from home is it?
- Is there parking available, or will I need to take public transit?
- How large is this company? You can check on LinkedIn or Glassdoor.
- Is there more than one location? If yes make sure you have the correct one.
- Read the ‘about’ page on the website or Wikipedia.
Doing your research on the company will help you familiarize yourself with the company. This will also create a great first impression with your Manager and team.
Know what to wear
What you wear to your practicum placement will depend largely on the work environment you will be working in during your practicum. Be sure to speak with your Career Services Department, as they will be happy to assist you in providing the dress code prior to your first day. By dressing in the same way as the rest of the workplace, you will feel more comfortable and feel a part of the team quicker too. For MOA students, remember Bredin College provides you with 3 sets of scrubs to wear during your practicum.
Prepare for your first day
Now that you know a bit more about the company, you can prepare for your first day!
- Bring a notebook.
- Arrive 15-20 minutes early.
- Lay out your outfit the night before.
- Set an alarm.
Use this as an opportunity to make connections
Your practicum is a great chance to meet people in your career field. As you connect with people you will gain valuable insight from a different angle than what you had learned up to this point. This can also be a great tool for getting first-hand information on job openings.
Your practicum is the last step before you start your career; it is also an important part of your education. Take your practicum as a learning experience to squeeze out the most information you can and build on the knowledge and skills you have gained so far. This is a crucial step to make you a competitive candidate in the market and advance your career.
Ask questions and be observant
This is the time to put your knowledge to the test. You will be taking everything you have trained for so far and applying it in a real-life setting under supervision. Use this opportunity to ask questions and listen to your mentors and colleagues. Be observant and watch what others are doing, one of the best ways to learn is by watching. This will help you find different ways to apply your knowledge and translate it from the classroom into the field.
Treat your practicum placement like you would any job
You can never predict the employment needs of any practicum host. At any point during your practicum a position may become available, and since you are doing such a great job that position will more than likely be yours. Remember training costs money and you have already been trained.
If there is no permanent position at the end of your practicum, these 4 weeks of practicum are still very important to your job search. The employer may have more than one location and may offer you employment at one of their other locations. In addition, the employer may be able to recommend you to a colleague who might be searching for a great employee just like you! All practicum hosts also fill out an evaluation form that you will get to keep and use as a reference for future opportunities.