Improving skills and connecting with people – one student’s work placement at Cognitive Paths

Catalin Haidau with Sibusiso Tshabalala

Catalin, a computer science college student from Italy, shares his experience of an Erasmus work placement at Cognitive Paths.

During the three months I spent at Cognitive Paths I worked as web developer and graphic designer. I became familiar with using platforms like,, and, but besides improving and acquiring new technical skills in the computer science field, I also learned about how the world of small business works, and had the opportunity to be part of it.

This placement has helped me understand what I want to do next with my life

I’ve participated and felt really involved in meetings with important corporate partners and observed how to establish a relationship with them. I was also given terrific life and work-related advice which no doubt, will be useful during my lifetime. The office I worked in was shared with many other small businesses belonging to very friendly people and this made the general environment more enjoyable for sure.

In fact, it happened that I also worked for the other businesses every now and then, and I was very happy to give a hand when I could. Connecting with many people and sharing time with them even after work has been delightful, I was even offered a free ticket for a theatre play.

Now, I look forward to applying to university and going on with my computer science studies back in Italy. This placement has helped me understand what I want to do next with my life, but one thing I know for certain is that I will miss Bristol and especially all the people that I met here.


Erasmus work placement students at Bristol and Bath Science Park

With over a quarter of 16-18 year olds under-prepared for work, it’s important that we address these skills gaps and make sure young people can make the most of opportunities. Since 2017 Cognitive Paths has hosted 43 Erasmus students and helped 20 more into placements with other organisations. It has been a fantastic way to bring fresh ideas and skills into our team,  while simultaneously supporting young people to develop valuable skills.

As well as hosting international students, we are also involved at a local level and recognise the importance of supporting local young people to increase their employability. In his role as an Enterprise Advisor for Cotham School with the Enterprise Adviser Network, Sibusiso connects business with school students to inspire and support them in choosing career paths. There’s a variety of ways to get involved, from coming to a careers day to company visits, shadowing and work experience. 

Could your organisation sponsor a work placement?