What is a placement?
A one year placement (also called an industrial placement, sandwich year, or year in industry placement) is a structured employment programme offered by companies. You'll spend one academic year working for a company as a full-time, paid employee before returning to your studies. They are available across a broad range of job areas and industries, including science, IT, engineering, and business.
Six things you need to know about placements
- Placement years are typically taken in your penultimate year of study; the end of year two in a BA/BSc or the end of year three in a four year programme like an integrated masters. All undergraduate students can suspend their studies to complete a one-year placement or transfer onto a course with a year in industry. This is subject to the agreement of their department.
- Companies recruit students on a competitive basis. You are not guaranteed a placement - you will have to apply.
- Most companies recruit students from any discipline, although some placement providers require you to be studying a particular degree or be on a year in industry course.
- They can lead to a graduate job. 80% of employers said the key reason for bringing placement students on board was to build their graduate recruitment pipeline for future years.
- You should be paid a salary.
- They can help you gain experience, learn new things and meet new people.
When to apply
Competition for the best placements is fierce, so you are advised to apply early. Recruitment for placements with larger organisations usually starts in September or October, closing in December or January. Opportunities are available throughout the year with organisations of all sizes but if you wait until after Easter to apply you will miss out on the best opportunities.
What to do now
- Get the right advice
If you are on a degree with a year in industry programme, attend all support sessions and modules run within your department.
- Visit the Career Studio
Come along to the Virtual Career Studio and have and chat with a Career Coach about placements and how to succeed in the application process.
- Attend employer events and start networking with employers
Register for CareerConnect events on Handshake and start networking and meeting different employers.
- Contact companies directly
If you are interested in completing a placement with specific companies, contact them directly to see what opportunities they offer.
- Do your research
We have links with hundreds of employers who advertise paid placement opportunities through our jobs portal.
- Update your CV
- Read our guide on where to find a placement
This will give you more information on where to search. Find it on Handshake.
Need help securing a placement?
Get advice on where to search and feedback on your application. Visit the Virtual Career Studio now!
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