How to design for everyone

Hosted by: UX Belfast (online).

Guest speakers: Regine Gilbert and MT McCann.

Topic: Universal and inclusive design.

What is the difference between accessibility and inclusion?

“Accessible design focuses on the outcome or end result of a design project. … Inclusive design is closely related to accessibility, but rather than an outcome, it’s a methodology for how to approach design. It’s a process for creating a design that can be used by a diverse group of people ” – Cameron Chapman.

Intercultural communication

This is a discipline that studies communications across different cultures and social groups, or how culture affects communication. This is something we must think of as we are now dealing in a global scale as designers.

Culture and language

  1. Identity management: This is the way individuals make sense of their multiple images concerning the sense of self in different social contexts.
  2. Culture: This is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of individuals in these groups.
  3. Self reflexivity: This is a process of learning to understand oneself and one’s position in society.
  4. Learning about others: The study of culture is the study of people. Be user centered.

Discussion questions

How do electronic means of communication (e-mail, internet, social media, etc.) differ from face-to-face interactions?

  • No body language
  • Less cues
  • Easier to be distracted
  • Misunderstanding
  • Tone of voice
  • We can communicate without actually talking
  • People are less inclined to step up

How do these communication technologies work?

  • Some cultures send emails in a very brief and to the point others more formal and detailed.
  • Harder to be more nuanced.
  • We should try to suppress cultural norms as we don’t know hoe they will be perceived.

Universal design

Coined by Ronald Mace and a team of architects, product designers and engineers in the 90’s. Originally designed for buildings but is now applicable to the web.

Seven principles of universal design:

  • Equitable use color contrast.
  • Colour contrast is the number 1 problem in the web and its something that we as designers have total control over – be mindful!
  • Flexibility in use – basically a way the user can expand or find what they are looking for and allow them to focus in a specific area. This is our job as designers. WTF = What is the focus.
  • Tolerance for error – allowing users to undo and redo. We don’t want to let users get stuck.
  • Low physical effort- think forms and how tedious they can be. Make forms that don’t require more information than is needed.
  • Size and space for approach and use – think of all your possible users, they could be anybody.

Temporary, situational, permanent disabilities – you need to consider all of these.

Web accessibility

Why is it needed? To ensure that users with disabilities can view the material like everyone else. It’s basically a basic right in our day and age.

Tools and preferences:

  • Assistive technology: these are software and hardware that people with understanding and viewing information.
  • Adaptive strategies: techniques that people with disabilities use to better access digital information.

Think about who is viewing or using what you create: think of ability, age, gender, ethnicity, etc…

The problem with the slide is that the contrast is too low, many people may not be able to even see it! what even?! The text is very hard to read due to the low contrast and therefore it is not accessible.

Good accessibilities practices

  • Left align text
  • Avoiding using all caps
  • Adding alternative text
  • Incorporation of inclusion and accessibility from the start of your project.
  • Get to know who you are designing for.

Who is accessible design for?

Do not think that thoughtful design is just for the elderly, or the sick, or the disabled, it is for everyone – think of for example of people who are less educated.

It is good to try and keep things as simple as possible, don’t use language that is too specific with your field of work. Keep things as simple as you can, so everyone can understand.

Thomas Logan (started equal entry and a11y design meetup and accessibility meetup in New York) He  helped designers gain a better understanding of the issues faced by people with disabilities.

America on tech is an organization that helps black and brown youths learn technological skills and gain internships whilst at highschool.

UX Belfast ESO

speaker: MT McCann

How and why she is putting a large emphasis in putting accessibility into eso

Their mission is to make a difference – to improve community health and safety through the power of data.

Ted Lasso is an inspiration for MT.

“Life might not be fair, but that doesn’t give you any excuse not to be.” – Elizabeth Jackson

We as digital technologist have a very serious responsibility to make the web accessible to everyone; don’t contribute to making anyone making feel left out.

The main focus of the design team at ESO is the humans that use the software (user centered).

The design is large and clear so that it is easy to tap with gloves in the field, moving ambulance. The interface is clear and easy to analyze.

Disabilities can be

  • Permanent: Colour blindness (This is particularly important for eso), hard of hearing, hurt in the course of their job. if the software can not function for people with permanent disabilities then they could loose their job.
  • Situational: Bumpy ride, lights on, sunny day reflecting off the screen.
  • Temporary: Required to retain a lot of information whilst in a tense situation is incredibly difficult so the software has to be appropriate to the situation the user is in.
  • Designing for our future selves: Our abilities naturally deteriorate as we get older.

Who’s job is it? – Everyone’s!

We NEED to create a culture of accessibility across the web to make sure everyone who works on, delivers or supports the services and products is part of the strategy.

Design system

Three specific motivations for upgrading to an accessible design system, now:

  • Efficiency
  • Onboarding
  • Scale

ESO Accessibility strategy

  • Design team training.
  • Make our design system accessible.
  • Implementation of inclusive designs (new documentation and annotation artefacts).
  • Run internal education accessibility sessions (Cover SDLC areas).
  • Encourage wider software development team training.
  • Create an internal champions team which has a wide variety of people from across the organization who are in the know.
  • Have a tactical and strategic plan of which products to tackle first and how deep to go
  • Hiring for accessibility skills.
  • Get marketing teams on board, ensuring our materials are designed with accessibility in mind.
  • Review our response in tenders.
  • Training and implementation teams and materials (Help content).
  • Support teams ~tag with accessibility issues.
  • Due diligence with 3rd party software purchased (WalkMe).
  • Inclusive design research methodologies and planning and recruitment of people with disabilities.
  • Reporting and governance eg. Accessibility issues found over time, hires with accessibility skills, internal sessions held.

Tips to get started

  • Get training so you can internally educate confidence.
  • Big orgs move like supper tankers not speedboats, focus on small wins.
  • Convey the risk you can carry to your legal team by being inaccessible.
  • Get senior support as aircover.
  • Run internal sessions early to convey the benefits and build internal advocates.
  • Push to get accessibility skills added to your hiring specs.
  • Start crafting your wider strategy.
  • Keep fighting the good fight.

Great ways to learn and get certified:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” – Maya Angelou


Speaker: Jason from Instil is the head of design at Instil.

Lessons he wishes he knew at the start of his career:

  • Play exploding kittens they do it – Good team building exercise, it would also be a talking point for an interview.
  • Think of your career like a game.
  • Don’t be a control freak.
  • Being a designer is about convincing the people in the room that your ideas and concepts are the right one.
  • Everything is a remix (Talk by Kirby Ferguson) talks of imposter syndrome and inspiring yourself constantly. We put pressure on ourselves to design in a vacuum when in reality this does not tend to work. Gather inspiration from every aspect of life and bring it into your designs. Ample ( has an inspirational blog), it’s about documenting your inspiration. Hot potato by Brad and Dan Frost is another great blog for inspiration.
  • Have a creative outlet – a project that you are passionate about outside your 9 -5. Think of how you get sick of the food in the place you work at. You need to mix things up. Jason’s creative outlet is his blog fathers father.
  • Your career development is a game, so have fun.
  • You will not be able to control everything if you can’t control it – move on, don’t sweat it.
  • Leveling up – know your worth.
  • Cheat codes – you do, you. Look up other designers work and get inspired. Steal my dear. Work in whatever way works best for you.  Don’t take your feedback so personally, find people in your life that understand good design and that will tell you if your design is rubbish when it is.

Instil the company

  • 16 yrs old.
  • They are a holistic product based company.
  • They have a design team of 2 and external help.
  • Consultancy – get to work with clients in a long term basis eg 2yrs.
  • Room for moving and improving different skills eg UX and also improving UI.
  • Website is a work in progress engineering one not a design one.

IDEA: design a few ideas for new ideas for their website for their interview.


  • Split time with marketing and project work – agency and product experience.
  • Small company.
  • Paid placement.
  • Can be offered a job before leaving placement year, if get a 1st honors then get £5000 bonus when starting.

Soft skills they like

  • Empathy
  • Shared interests
  • Think big picture
  • Being able to articulate design as you will be in a room full of engineers – you need to make them understand why your idea is the best for meeting their needs.
  • The blogs will be seen as part of your written communication skills as the case study area in your portfolio is only a snapshot of your work.
  • Why is design necessary? think of building a house but not involving an architect – it simply would not work.
  • Read tragic design – this book has some great insight for inexperienced designers.
  • is his email – they are happy for us to reach out to them and have an informal chat about the company.


UX placement opportunities 2022 – 2023

Speaker: Damon Rodgers (UX designer)

Who will be conducting the interviews?

Andrew Rossborogh (Lead UX/UI designer)  he will interview for the role; he is a good mentor and was in Kyles university class.

What does he want to see?

Research –> Analyze (crazy 8s) –> Design –> Prototype –> deliver, test and reflect.

Who is FinTrU

  • Finance and security.
  • creating solutions for Investment banks that will be used throughout the world.
  • employer and company of the year.
  • Mental health support.
  • Hybrid working.
  • Coffee bar.

What we get

  • How to combine UX thinking with design execution.
  • Planning and running user tests.
  • Designing and prototyping elegant solutions for complex problems.
  • Supported by an assigned mentor.
  • Employee assisted program – they will fund you to study after degree.
  • Performance related rewards.
  • Training and development.
  • Competitive salary.
  • 23 days and 10 bank holidays off.
  • Can skip 1st year graduate program.
  • Comprehensive health and wellbeing strategy.

Placement students

  • Patrick Boutilier

Who are they looking for?

  • User research (survey, interview and usability testing).
  • Passion for quality.
  • Prioritize and plan your work.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Figma.


  • Examples of work including screen designs/prototypes.
  • How you can frame the problem you were trying to solve – research.
  • The process – decision making.
  • Ability to talk through your portfolio with confidence.
  • Ability to reflect on what you learned and how you grew.

How to apply:

Go to FinTrU website and apply there – apply to portal – then they select who they interview – then look at portfolio.

Interview question

  • Can you tell us your UX process relating back to your portfolio.

I also attended a career talk given by FinTrU; here are the notes I made:

The winding road to design

Organized by Ladies that UX Belfast


  • Rick Monroe
  • Conaill Hyndman
  • Anna Murray

New Ladies that UX leaders

  • Sam Nelson (design research lead at Deloitte Digital)
  • Rosie McKenzie (Service design consultant at EY Seren)
  • Eve McCann (Senior service design consultant at EY Seren)

I love solving problems for real people through my work.

Conaill Hyndman

  • How he became a developer to designer
  • UX/UI designer at Deloitte Digital
  • Joined as a front-end developer
  • 2 years as a developer
  • Always new he wanted to work on design – this was made apparent when he would work with designers
  • Fiona Sloan (UX lead at Deloitte digital) his sister – might be a good person to email asking for a job


  • Udemy courses on how to use Figma
  • Adobe Certified Associate in Photoshop 2017
  • UX/UI podcasts – Pablo Stanley
  • Accessibility – attended FE accessible courses

Learning on the job:

  • Trial and error
  • Allow for mistakes
  • Group design critiques
  • You will never be fully comfortable unless you get stuck in

Top tips:

  • No one starts out as an expert
  • Mistakes make a better designer
  • Make time to learn – do this before moving into the role
  • Ask questions, it’s never a silly one
  • Your pathway is your personal journey – always changing, always learning
  • Enjoy your experience

Rick Monroe

Connecting the dots

  • Use your experience to react better to situations


  • started off as a graphic designer – he was focused on style
  • Then became an interaction designer where he started working trying to create engagement and interactions
  • Got involved with UX – He started designing as an investment. He found his value. Started seeing his work as delivering values
  • Where he is heading – wants to deliver impactful outcomes.

The roles he has had since graduating did not exist when he first graduated, the industry grew and changed and he developed and adapted with it to change where he was an to become something different

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” – Steve Jobs

Book recommendations:

  • Managing oneself – Peter F. Drucker

Success … comes to those who know themselves – Peter Drucker

This is how you learn, work with others, what your values are, how you work with others and your contributions. Self-awareness – learning as well as learning about yourself never stops. You can’t have self awareness without self reflection

  • The humble designer written by Rick Monroe – blog post
  • Quiet by Susan Cain – The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking

Introverts have more empathy …

“An introvert is not a failed extrovert” – Susan Meindl

You are not a failed version of something else. Think long-term

Insert r4 image here

It is important to be kind to those (even yourself) who have not yet learned or experienced as much as others. Practice humility and self awareness and recognize when you are at the top of your game. Never be afraid ro ask for help and learn from people who have made it to the top.

“It’s all experience, son.” – Rick Monroe’s dad

Anna Murray

  • Works at EY Seren’s service design practice
  • Learning design on the job
  • Do not compare yourself to others
  • Asking for advice is a strenght not a weakness
  • Having different backgrounds in the room other than a pure design background always bring a wealth of value.
  • Testing and iterating is part of the process – we expect our product or service we are designing to need several iterations before it’s right (and even after that it’s a continuous work in progress) so we should look at our own journey like that too and be willing to test things out and have patience with the process.
  • A ‘typical’ designer does not exists!
  • “User need Enthusiast”
  • Celebrate and promote diversity of thought
  • Encourage others and ourselves to share our knowledge gaps
  • Actually be more comfortable with ‘failing fast’ or ‘failing at all’
  • Challenge the inclusivity and accessibility of design
  • Variety in experience and diversity of thought shouldn’t be limited to your CV, I also believe it’s life experiences, personal opinions, thoughts etc.

Things MT liked

  • Being able to pivot and transition
  • Willing to go away and learn
  • “User need Enthusiast”


Because of this talk I now understand more about the importance of design accessibility and how I should consider this at all times when designing. Even small things like colour contrast, typography, alternative text for images are so very important to ensure everyone can enjoy and see the content as best as possible.


What are they? A high tech security company

Headquarters – Boston

Belfast office

The Belfast headquarters is an innovation hub – named one of the leading places to work at.

Set up in 2014 with 1 employee, now they have over 300 employees.

The teams building owns all of the company flagship products.

They have an awesome reception, makers space and library, main café and a gaming space.

Placement program

  • Interns become valuable members of the team from day 1.
  • About 80% of the interns receive employment offers to return to work with them after graduation.
  • Around 150 interns have come through the process since it started in 2014.
  • Some of the initial interns are now Lead Engineers.

Jordan – previous intern

  • Started 7 years ago.
  • 9 Interns entered the office with a full time staff.
  • In the chaos he learned and became able to apply knowledge from university into his designs.
  • Has travelled all over – from being sent to courses, company kick off in Belfast or Boston.


  1. What was your training before you went into Rapid7 Jordan? I’m just wondering if there’s a preference to what type of education background you’re coming from.   –  He went to Jordanstown not knowing real word experience. EAGERNESS is what they are looking for, don’t worry about feeling that you are not really. Prove that you are ready and willing to learn.
  2. Internships make a huge difference in building up your skill.
  3. Experience will not be a factor – they know we have just started to learn.
  4. There is room for transitioning between roles; even between different UX roles.

Opportunities available for me –> UX design & engineering and product management  5 going to UX design and 1 to product management

What to expect as an intern

  • Opportunity to work on real production code from the very start.
  • Formal training program to help you settle.
  • Learn lots of new technology.
  • Be treated as a regular team member.
  • Be assigned a mentor – guidance and assistance. Helps you learn at a pace that suits you best within the company.
  • We will give you an experience as valuable as possible, setting you up for a successful final year.
  • Offer to return as a graduate if you have been successful.

What do they expect from me?

  • Good attitude and aptitude.
  • Passion for learning technology.
  • Experience is not necessary they will provide us with the tools to learn and be successful.

Erin – previous intern (engineering)

  • She did not have the instill training interns get now.
  • Joined in 2016.
  • Only girl in the team – never felt like it though.
  • She was able to write code from the ground up and architecture information, take part in meetings.
  • Studied in Queens.
  • Questions were always welcomed.
  • Types of technologies she is using now – pretty much everything was new to her. Java, and really any new product or software that is relevant – you are constantly learning. Its a great way to mature in your career also.


  1. Ask questions.
  2. Learn through your mentors.


  • Attractive salary about £20000.
  • 24 days annual leave and bank/public holidays.
  • Private health, life and travel insurance.
  • Company pension plan with generous (7%) employer contribution.
  • Company shares plan at 15% discount.
  • Employee assistance program – mental health support.
  • When in the office, snacks and refreshments available.
  • Pool table, table tennis and board games available.
  • Regular office gatherings with breakfast, lunch or dinner provided. Monthly they do Belfast time hall to hear what everyone is working on and welcome new hires.
  • They have a speak easy pub in the office.

Next steps

  1. Apply!!!!!! closing date 29 October.
  2. Candidates will be contacted to schedule their own 15 minute pre screen interview with one of our engineering managers – COME PREPARED – big about CV, yourself, company and interest surrounding industry.
  3. If successful, you will be contracted regarding a technical interview. 90 mins – Check spam folder pls  These will happen in November. Puzzle you must solve with the team to see how you would work together.
  4. All interviews will take place via Zoom.
  5. the talent acquisition team will be in touch with applications outcomes and offers.

They have a take home challenge – get a design problem and solve it with wireframes and prototypes then get 15mins in the interview to explain it.

TIPS for the design challenge

  • Be prepared.
  • Do research, explore their products.
  • Avoid a vanilla CV.
  • What will make you stand out (in a good way).
  • Take your time with the design challenge. Don’t just show a polished design, show your thought process.

Final reflections

  • They will look to see when you join them what roles makes the most sense to your skills and designers and natural abilities – They will ensure you are doing the role that is best suited for you. Transition is an option.
  • Big JAVA house. C++ and Python.
  • For UX development they use HTML, SASS, react, vanilla ds.
  • UX design – figma, miro.
  • They are not super strict when it comes to time. As the norm expectation work from 10 – 4 or 9 -5. Really whatever works best, just use some sense and work in a productive way and in a time that works with your team.
  • Still working from home but they don’t know what will be happening next year.
  • Design challenges – hard design challenge of scale.

Rapid7 placement talk

Speaker: Mike

Date: 28/10/21

Who is Rapid7?

  • Service protection/security company.
  • Protection.
  • Prevention.
  • Security.
  • We are the force behind the people who protect you everyday – securing your connection online, making sure your connection, passwords and data is secure. They build this software.
  • We protect the tools that protect society: Cloud security, threat protection (Use AI to anticipate threats), Security automated, vulnerability management, application security, Incident detection and support —> could consider this a novel cause.
  • We are powering the cyber protectors.

Why does UX matter in Cyber security?

  • We are designing the critical experience for our users. It must be powerful, reliable and extensive. But they are nothing if they are not usable – they must be user friendly.

3000 staff across the UK, Japan, US, Amsterdam, etc.

Design system:

  1. Discovery:   Brief –> 5 whys (Is it inline with user wishes, is it technically feasible, do we have the people to do it?) –> Heuristic review –> feasibility review (talk to some engineers, product managers before suggesting it) –> Competitor review (Help or support pages are great to show how they explain their process) –>  Tooling (What tools will I use to achieve this? It’s about choosing the right tool to create prototypes easily to then present it to the team – what is the tool quit of my team?) –> User research (what are your users really saying? User centered) –> Analytics () –> Market landscape
  2. Design: Insights –> Design principles –> Design system integrations –> Brand experience –> Artefacts –> Exploration  –> Progress review –> Prototyping
  3. Build: Learn at least the basics of HTML and CSS and Java so you can have an educated talk with the developers.
  4. Test: Prototype –> Peer test –> User test –> Device test (Put your designs in as many devices as possible as they will look different depending on their settings) –> Quality assurance (Don’t mark your own homework – you are not impartial) –> Accessibility test (Make sure whatever you create is accessible) –> Performance test –> Benchmarking (against other experiences – eg how many clicks does it take? How quickly can a user get through it?) –> Done criteria (Are you ticking off the criteria boxes? Can we automate this? Is it successful? … Ask for the definition of what being ‘done’ will be for this project)

They work in an agile way (2 week cycle for UX design).

At the end of the design system something gets pushed live.

What they are looking for:

  • Think in a problem solving way.
  • Accessible designing.
  • Being a great UX practitioner also means being a great storyteller – Tell them a good story of how you reached your design.

Design in an art. UX is a science

  • UX process can be learned.
  • Design is products solving, creating something that is aesthetic and usable.
  • Learn by doing it, living it and practicing it. Get your hands dirty. Learn through doing.
  • Understanding the why and testing ideas.

What to say in interview:

  • Want to work for this company as I believe the work they do is a novel cause that protects those that protect us.
  • Talk about design systems – how UX and UI should be implemented across.
  • Waterfall vs Agile design system – Agile is better but research it and make a blog post.
  • Be ready to tell the story of your work.
  • Be ready to tell your story.
  • Help design the critical experience and empower the protectors.
  • They like slack as a social platform.

Application process dates and info

  • How long until we hear back: Couple of weeks – November 8th.
  • They review websites as soon as you submit it #screed.
  • Remote and onsite work.
  • It will be a 10 month long placement.

At the careers fair event I had a few 1 to 1s with some of the members of the Rapid7 team – what I was able to learn is that they are a great company, that would offer any placement student a nurturing place to learn and grow.

Here are the notes I took:

Global payments

Deadline: 05/11/21

Apply on Workday with CV and portfolio

Interview process:

  1. Interview (30-40 mins)
  2. Second stage interview (present short design challenge)

  • Stephen Picton – director of communications – him and Jordan will be reviewing application
  • UX is the heart of the development process in Global Payments.

Intro to Global payments integrated

  • Focus on integrated payment solutions
  • Sites across the world
  • Allows users to manage account, invoices, credit card, etc…
  • 24,000+ employees
  • Dominic was a placement student last year
  • Belfast and Foyle sites accounts for 80% of the revenue for the company

Intro to technical communications

  • UX:  UX design system –> Ux practices and processes –> Customer feedback –> Accessibility
  • Tech Docs: API documentation (A way of interacting with the software) –> Compliance documentation (Finance, security and compliance) –> Practices and processes –> Style guide

Merges to create —> UX WRITTING

  • Hardware interface
  • Software interface
  • User guides
  • Help center

Accessibility is a huge thing for Global Payments especially since in the states by law the UI must be accessible. 

Intro to Genius

Team goal

  • Promote Ux
  • Conduct research
  • Collaborate across disciplines
  • Deliver design decisions
  • Create solutions
  • Seek feedback and validate design


  • Lean product strategy
  • Agile product development

What to expect

  • You will be part of the team

Gemma’s placement experience

  • Built out interface devices
  • Prototyping used tool called protopie
  • Communicating with others, at home and overseas
  • Journey maps
  • empathy maps
  • Creating device illustrations
  • How you can apply
  • Hypothesis mapping
  • The mad hackathon (Allows employes to present ideas they think global payments should develop)

  • Start date: July 2022 for 12 months
  • Working hours: 37.5 hours per week Mon -Fri 9:00 – 5:30

Key skills they want

  • design for accessibility
  • UX writing
  • Illustrative skills
  • Design thinking – they are not that worried about the portfolio
  • Brush up on understanding of UX process for interviews. How to put yourself in the mind of the user
  • Design UX and UI for design thing with one of their screens and show them?
  • Empathy maps


Synergy UX Internship

Session: Group session 1 – 1:30 pm

Speaker: Eimear Corrigan

Topic: Eimear will recount her experience as a UX intern. Eimear is now working full time as a UX developer.

  • She was able to be a UX designer and developer – a hybrid role.
  • In 2019 she stayed part time with synergy learning – something they do if they see your potential within the company. They were very flexible
  • In final year they were flexible and gave her time off so she could focus on her studies
  • There was a lot of progressing and opportunity within the company.

It is a very fast paced environment.

They are experts in creating learning with impact. They create engaging, intuitive and accessible learning platforms that deliver meaningful, measurable results.

What they do

  • learning management platform
  • Bespoke development
  • UX design – understanding users, their needs and creating a result that will be useful and meaningful to them

Applying for the role

  1. Prepare your knowledge in your area
  2. Be ready to talk about you. Sell your self
  3. Learn a bit about SASS, Mustache templates with PHP
  4. have an interesting and personal cover letter in your application – have interesting answers to questions: these things will give you a better chance
  5. research our company. Understand what we do.
  6. Show that you are keen to learn and develop – they will want to help you with that

Apply online

1st interview

  • Technical section – could be a technical scenario or general questions
  • Typical interview questions
  • Knowledge of company values
  • Prepare questions to ask – show interest

Beginning the role of an intern:

  • assigned a buddy – continuous learning, mentoring to enhance you skills and help with your learning
  • get used to the systems they use: Atlassian, Slack, Asana, Moodle. Learn their platform:

Day to day as UX developer:

  • team meetings
  • daily stand up – quick catch up of projects (around9;30)
  • Git – learn this and SAS and JavaScript
  • Client communications
  • Support


  • perkbox (get this after being there 6months)

Current opportunities:

  • Intern UX developer
  • Intern QA Analyst
  • Intern Support

Where will I work? Remote/flexible

There is potential for a future career with Synergy Learning

You will be provided by the hardware and software needed to do your work.

Synergy is looking for…

Personal, engaging, tailored for the role and application. Show you have researched the company, that you know the role and that you are interested in it. Show A LOT of interest into the company . Look up their website and blog.

They do a lot of projects for charity – maybe include the fact that you like this?

They might ask you which ones of their values you can relate to most – Eimer said passionate and

Who to contact:

  • Mandy for anything to do with the company    –  Can get a 1:1 with her to ask more about the application process.
  • Dylan for how its like working while studying

How to submit your portfolio when applying:

  • web portfolio would be preferred – add as a link. If its not online yet try Google drive

Local and Global internship & placement hacks

Speaker: Patrick McGranaghan

Company: Liberty

  • Ask about the specific roles that are available, show queen interest.
  • Dress to impress on the 1:1 booking.
  • LinkedIn profile must be completed —- employers search this.
  • Be honest with recruiters, they can tell if you are lying.
  • Give module names and marks.

Local and Global internship & placement hacks

check out the EDGE Award for extra curricular activities eg Cultural Awareness

Industrial work placement:

  • This should be relevant to your degree. The university will now have new levels of flexibility. you will be awarded a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) at graduation.
  • These help you explore potential career paths, gain invaluable work experience to boost your CV, develop vital transferable skills, build industry networks and get a taste for the real world of work.

Internships are also a great option.

Placement options

These are the levels of flexibility offered by the university to ensure we gain the best experience for achieving the Diploma in Professional Practice.

  1. Professional Work Placement: 12 month placement (25 weeks) or an enhanced flexibility for full-time and part-time work/combination of shorter placements.
  2. Civic and economic.

When and how to apply?

Sooner rather than later. Have your CV and application into the employers sooner rather than later. Doing this will also take the pressure off you.

UUConnects can help with getting an Ulster mentor – worldwide

Ways to find placement

  • Handshake offers live vacancies.
  • The Employability & Careers Department.
  •  Go Global Go.
  • Global Expression of Interest.
  • Placement Queries can be sent to

Try to arrange a follow up with any employers after the 1:1 if possible if they are willing of course! It will leave a very good impression.

Careers Café

Student Placement Experiences



  • Almac – Codie
  • Lea Folliard Study USA Programme
  • Curtis Donnan Ornua
  • Caragh Fitzpatrick Ulster University

Codie Lea

Her year working as a technical quality officer with ALMAC Pharma services.

She found her placement through LinkedIn, she had to complete a metric testing and an interview. She was based in Craigavon. They are a prestigious company that offers travelling opportunity – this is what inspired her. Their values/mantra/vison lined up with hers.

They were impressed with her interview as she smiled and was confident when communicating and when she had not known how to use machinery she would give examples of how she would overcome that at uni lab. Ask about confidentiality for data integrity  in your interview. How is my career going to progress ask during interview and placement

Induction process:

  • It spanned over the course of 2 weeks.
  • New starts were grouped together to facilitate a joint learning experience.
  • Introduced to different members of their team who shared their experinces and job roles.
  • Multiple site tours across Craigavon site.
  • End of the induction process involved the integration into the main office space.
  • Buddy system allowed for an easier transition.
  • Training
  • Equal treatment between placement students and TQ officers.
  • Had an output to challenge my difficulties and challenges, such as navigation of quality softwares.
  • 1:1 monthly meetings

As part of the team you are eligible to get awards – strive for this

Contract offer:

  • She was offered a permanent role starting July 2022
  • Only required to achieve a minimum 2:1 classification
  • Due to her placement experience, she will commence as a first level officer and not just a graduate

Further study opportunity with ALMAC:

  • Eligible for the further education scheme within ALMAC Pharma Services
  • Allows her to maintain her position while undertaking a masters degree
  • Fees will be paid for by the company
  • She would be eligible for MSc Pharmaceutical Validation Technology at Technological University in Dublin.

Career progressions:

  • Her placement experience is a career boost, a stepping stone in her career – make sure this is so for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


He is currently working in University: Vice president in the student union.

  • He enrolled into the Study USA and got in. 1 of 50 students who get to go over.
  • He went through a serious of interviews, filled personal statements and had to appear before a panel. He went to West Virginia. It was quite remote so it was a challenge being so remote.
  • Curtis. You come across as confident and this really makes a difference at an interview. Confidence can be learned … The Interview 360 tool on the employability portal is a fantastic way to practice your interview skills and get immediate feedback.
  • Left with a 4.0 GPA (First class honors).
  • Enhance your confidence option – EDGE activity
  • Study USA program is extremely competitive – stay connected with Curtis; he can help.

Caragh Fitzpatrick

Is a technical Support Administrator in Ornua

  • Ornua is the owner of Kerrygold.
  • They are collaborators who export the goods throughout the world.
  • She was with them for 13monts July to August.
  • Its a very high paced company.
  • She was treated like an employee during her placement.
  • She completed 7 courses whilst there: Internal Auditing (first placement student to do this ever)
  • She had to be very organized from day one as it was such a fast paced environment
  • She was only in the offices twice; the rest she did online.
  • Language barriers and culture awareness is so important – check out the EDGE activity – Culture Awareness

Olivia McKee

Placement year at Ulster University

Geography student working as a Research placement assistant at Ulster


  • Check Handshake and LinkedIn everyday!!!!
  • Practice interview
  • Writing CV help
  • Employability and careers team
  • Keep your options open
  • Don’t limit yourself it would also be useful to gain experience in different sectors

Creating an impressive handshake profile

Speaker – Eilis Spence, Employability advisor

Topic – Prepare for the virtual fair – how to create an impressive handshake profile.


It is vital to have a good profile as employers can view it. Handshake is the middle man so the employers can interact with us. This could be the first thing an employer will see, making it very important.

  • MY profile must showcase me, my education, skills, experience and career aspirations.
  • There are 7 key areas to complete: My journey, education, work and extracurriculars, classes, projects and skills
  • Upload supporting files such as CV and cover letter.
  • Level of study – level 5 for second years. It’s very important to get this right as it will affect what job opportunities will be brought to you.
  • My journey is a short summary of yourself and what you are looking for. Its your chance to introduce yourself. It’s the first thing the employer will read – make yourself sound employable.
  • put actively looking for a job.
  • Ad your experience and add a few notes on your responsibilities and key roles.
  • When adding your cv make sure to check over the skills as handshake automatically adds things into this section that may not be necessary
  • Documents: this is where you can upload your CV and cover letter.
  • Organizations and extra curriculars  – add edge activities here also

Look up the video from yesterday on YouTube – here is the link.

Future jobs and opportunities fairs week 11-14 October:

  • Placement opportunities
  • Graduate jobs
  • Industry experts
  • Skills development
  • Skills boosting program with Allstate, ALMAC and Deloitte