For the last five years, XLN, part of Daisy Communications, has been working with Sheffield Hallam University to support the Computer Science curriculum and offer internships for students. Today, these internships have not only supported a number of students in completing their degrees and be ready to use their have led to real careers with XLN in Sheffield.
XLN is not just an internship provider for Sheffield Hallam students, the telecoms provider also participates in a second-year module for Computer Science students, called Professional Software Projects.
Michael Marriott, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of BSc Computer Science and BSc Computer Science with AI, runs the course at Sheffield Hallam.
“The second-year module allows businesses like XLN to act as a client for a group of our students, with a project for students to deliver for assessment by the team at XLN,” said Michael. “It’s great having a business like XLN on board, as the way they work with us on the module and placements clearly demonstrate the businesses willingness to bring in and welcome new ideas and talent.”
He goes on to say, “It’s my mission to make sure my students are ready to land in the world of work. XLN is an organisation that is the ideal example of how you should run placements. Our students then go to XLN for a year on placement before returning to complete their third year. Normally by the end of their year placement, before they come back to us, they’ve been offered a role as a graduate, so they can come back to their studies without worry, confident they can just focus on their studies rather than trying to find a job.
“This is just one of the many benefits of our students working in the supportive environment in the development team in Sheffield. Students love it at XLN, and the big thing that they take away from it – beyond a job – is the massive transformation we see. Many students go in unsure of themselves and not believing they have what it takes and you wouldn’t believe they’re the same person 12 months later. With the support and real-world experience, they return confident and transformed. I tell all my students to apply to XLN, where they can make a noticeable difference, which is sometimes more difficult at larger companies.”
What do the students have to say?
Current interns Ahmed Saeed and Ali Hasan are coming to the end of their placement year with XLN, and both are planning to return to the company after they complete their final year.
“I’ve been working as a software developer at XLN for over a year,” said Ahmed. “I came in from university with no prior experience and low confidence. The team has been very supportive, it’s a nice environment for you to grow and gain confidence.”
Ali commented, “I was initially struggling to find a placement, as I am international student, so many places wouldn’t accept me. However, there were no issues with XLN. Like Ahmed, I wasn’t confident, but XLN is a great place to get real-world experience with products that people will use. I really want to come back after university because it’s a really nice workplace.”
Connor Baxter and Isobel Burrows are two of the XLN team that returned to work at the company following successful internships.
Connor joined the team last year in a permanent role as Mid-Level Software Developer. “I love it here, which is why I came back after university – I didn’t even look anywhere else,” said Connor. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do, so I came straight back.”
Isobel is a Business Analyst at XLN and joined the same year as Connor for her internship. “After my placement year finished, I extended my time and then was actually offered a part-time job role while I completed my final year at university,” she said. “XLN was really accommodating, working my hours around my course. I’d a hundred percent recommend that anyone looking for a new opportunity apply to join XLN. It’s a great, diverse place to work.”
XLN believes in investing in people and the local community, which is why the team is always on the lookout for fresh talent, new ideas. As well as opportunities for students, from both Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield, there are several open job roles at XLN’s Sheffield offices. Find out more on the XLN website