Placement Student of the Year 2017 - Zenith's own Nick Fay
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Nick Fay wins Dean’s Award for Placement Student of the Year 2017

Posted on November 8, 2017 by Helena Rogers

Nick Fay is one of the youngest and brightest talents to join the Zenith business as part of his year in industry. At just 21 and with just a years’ experience working as a Business System Analyst, Nick has gone from strength to strength while completing his sandwich course at Leeds Beckett University.

After completing a successful year with Zenith, Nick was nominated for a Placement Excellence Employer Award 2017 by his manager James O’Connor. Not only did he win this award he also went on to the claim the overall ‘Dean’s Award for Placement Student of the Year 2017’.

As a technology leader of the future, we interview Nick Fay and his manager James O’Connor about his educational journey to find out what the future holds for Business Information Systems and Nick since winning the award.

Nick, please can you tell us about your degree / what you have studied?

Since 2014 I have been studying a BSc (Hons) Computing at Leeds Beckett University. This course, which includes a year in industry, takes four years to complete and covers topics such as databases, software engineering, networking, security and system design .

So far I have completed two years of my sandwich degree, and the year in industry which I undertook at Zenith, and have just returned for the fourth year, where I will be studying subjects such as advanced database design and systems development.

As part of my degree I also have to do a final year project in data warehousing, which I am doing in conjunction with Zenith. This project is focused on looking at ways to improve business intelligence in relation to Zenith’s current business system Agresso.

What does the award mean to you?

This award is from Professor Colin Pattinson, the Dean of the School of Computing and Creative Technologies at Leeds Beckett University. Thanks to my nomination from Zenith I was awarded overall placement student of the year. This is chosen by the Dean after reviewing testimonials written by the employers of all placement students that year.

For me this is a great achievement, I had no idea I had been nominated for my work at Zenith and it was a massive surprise to be chosen as the overall award winner. I am very grateful to have been nominated and that my time spent at Zenith has been of mutual benefit. From my perspective, it means I must have made a positive impact during my internship and I am very pleased that my mentors at Zenith went out of their way to communicate this to Leeds Beckett.

James O’Connor, why did you nominate Nick for this award? 

I nominated Nick for the student placement awards 2017 based on the contribution I felt he had made over the full placement year. The nomination was made based on select criteria around innovation, overall impact and outstanding achievement. During his time at Zenith, Nick has automated a previously manual process to help drive more accurate reporting. He has also developed workflows for a new document management system which allowed for more accurate tracking of lifecycle documents on projects. As a result of his work we have seen more accurate information coming through in much less time.

Over the past year, Nick has shown exceptional talent and capability across all tasks given to him. He self-taught several applications and trained other members of the team on how to use them: these have now become key components of the business. Without Nick’s ingenuity and dedication we would not have been able to meet a number of our project deadlines.

Nick, how have you found working at Zenith? 

I have really enjoyed my time working with Zenith. James welcomed me into the team and encouraged me to get involved in diverse areas of the Managed Information Services  side of the business and I would like to thank him for the opportunity. I have worked across virtually the whole of Zenith and engaged with all levels of the business. I have gained an understanding of what Zenith is as a business, how and where it operates and what it means to work at the company from many perspectives and have enjoyed learning the Zenith way.

What does your future hold now? 

I am working part-time whilst completing the final year of my degree and doing occasional Agresso and IT support. I am also involved with the remedy implementation project that will help to facilitate the Managed Services side of the business.

I now plan on completing the final year of my degree, and haven’t decided on anything after that. However, both work and further education are on the cards, as a new master’s degree in Computer Science  is about to start at Leeds Beckett which looks very interesting.

I hope longer term to have a career in IT and that I can work on interesting projects to develop existing skills and capabilities I have developed over my internship. I have worked on various Zenith internal business intelligence and workflow projects and would like to continue working in this area going forward.

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