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What is a Work Placement ?


Work Placements are normally structured programmes or schemes where you spend an entire academic year working for an organisation as a full-time member of staff before returning to university for your final year.

Work Placements generally take place after your second year at university and provide you with the opportunity to gain all-important work experience and employability skills before graduating. For many degree courses, they are an optional part, however for some it is a compulsory component of the degree. (Rate My Placement)

On some courses, work placements are compulsory in order to get your degree, while on others you can opt to do a placement as one of your modules.

 If this isn't the case on your course then you should still think about arranging a placement. Careers & Employability provide advice and guidance on how to secure a placement opportunity that best matches your career development needs. Click here to see how we can help you.

Increasing numbers of employers now also have work experience places for first year undergraduates – a quarter of organisations offer paid internships and a third of employers run introductory courses, open days and other taster experiences for first year students. So what are you waiting for?

To view placement opportunities available through Careers & Employability click here

Why do a Work Placement?

“Graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the graduate recruitment selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their (chosen) organisations’ graduate programmes”. (Graduate Market Review 2015).

If you do not do a form of work based or placement learning your chances of getting a graduate level job when you graduate are significantly reduced.

Enhanced Employability...

Employability covers a broad range of non-academic or softer skills and abilities which are of value in the workplace. It includes the ability to work in a team; a willingness to demonstrate initiative and original thought; self-discipline in starting and completing tasks to deadline.

Many now expect to see evidence of these ‘Employability skills’ and achievements that boost someone's attractiveness as a potential employee

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the NUS are providing students with expert advice in a handy publication on what employers are looking for in new recruits and practical tips to help students meet these requirements. Click here to view

Academic Benefits

  • The knowledge you gain may directly relate to your course and therefore benefit your academic work - on average, students who have gone on placement get higher marks and a better degree classification than those who do not go on a placement
  • The opportunity to apply your theoretical knowledge to real situations
  • Ideas for final year project.

Personal Benefits

  • Students and graduates who undertake work placements report increased confidence in their abilities
  • You may be paid for the placement - it can be a good opportunity to earn money
  • Opportunity to adapt to workplace culture within a supported environment

How your Placement Tutor can help you

Most courses have a 'Placement Tutor', usually an academic member of staff with responsibility for placements. They can advise you of placement opportunities, how to apply for placements and provide other support relating to placements.

If you do not know who your Placement Tutor is or you have questions regarding Work Placements and other forms or Work Based Learning Please click here for subject specific contact details.