Athlone Institute of Technology is once again partnering with Midlands-based companies to help them fill their digital marketing resource gaps using final year students’ knowledge of cutting-edge digital marketing methods as part of an innovative ‘live’ capstone project.
The hugely successful initiative, which is now in its second year, gives the students the chance to work with real businesses, helping them set and achieve strategic digital marketing goals all the while gaining invaluable, hands-on, industry-relevant experience.
“We designed this programme with the digital needs of industry firmly in mind. There is a significant skills gap and not enough technically adept graduates to drive the digital needs of businesses forward,” Louise Murray, marketing lecturer at Athlone Institute of Technology, explained.
“With this unique mode of assessment, we’re cultivating highly-skilled, confident digital marketing graduates who are capable of getting stuck in and adding value to a business immediately – whether that be in an in-house or agency capacity.”
The digital marketing capstone project, which is run over two semesters, tasks students with bringing an idea quite literally ‘from conception to execution’ with full buy-in from their client. To support this process and feed and inform the formulation of their digital marketing strategy, students will undertake a variety of practical and theoretical modules.
Mark Lynch, a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Digital Marketing programme who worked with Henshaw Eyewear – an up-and-coming eyewear brand worn by Shawn Mendes among other celebrities, credits the capstone project with giving him the edge when it came to applying for jobs.
“Working with a real business - helping them set and achieve strategic digital marketing goals – gave me invaluable, industry-relevant experience to add to my portfolio. It gave me huge confidence that I’d been equipped with the skills, competencies and experience necessary to carve out a successful career in digital marketing,” the now inbound marketing associate with Dot Dynamic in Co Longford, said.
This year, 10 companies, out of a pool of 70, have been selected to participate in the programme. Among them, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, McGargles Beer (River Rye Brewing Company), Neueda Technologies, Shannonside FM, Athlone Golf Club, Kingsize Big and Tall, Seery’s Cash and Carry, the Hodson Bay Group, Athlone Chamber of Commerce and Steripack Ireland.
“We’re delighted to team up with Athlone Institute of Technology to enhance our digital marketing activities and amplify our communications. The digital marketing capstone project is a really fresh, innovative idea that allows students to gain that industry-relevant experience while still at college and in return offers high-quality solutions to local businesses,” Alejandro Muñoz Espiago, director of technology with SteriPack Ireland, said.
The project, which is split into two phases, will see students develop and implement a digital marketing strategy from scratch - with support from experienced digital marketing and business lecturers. In semester one, students will extensively research their partner company and carry out an analysis of their current digital marketing activity after which point they will begin implementing their digital marketing strategy.
An educational powerhouse defined by a commitment to academic excellence, Athlone Institute of Technology has enjoyed considerable successes in the academic arena, most notably being named one of U-Multirank’s ‘Top 25 Performing Universities’ in the world for interdisciplinary research the second consecutive year. Further solidifying its reputational prowess, the institute continues to enjoy the highest ranking nationally in the Irish Survey of Student Engagement – 69% versus 29% national average. These accolades build upon the institute’s success in winning the Sunday Times Good University Guide ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ award in 2018 and Runner Up award in 2017.