In which year of study I can do the Year in Industry placement?
Normally after completing your first and second year, but on MEng programmes it can be after completion of your third year.
When does a Year in Industry placements start, and how long does it last?
This depends on the contract you have with your employer, but we require all placements to be at least 40 weeks long, and to start by late-September. This is a regulatory requirement of Year in Industry programmes. Starting dates for placements vary, but students can commence their placement from early June. The formal Year in Industry assessment process normally begins at the start of the academic year in late-September, and ends the following May when you must be available to undertake final presentation assessments. Some students work for more than 40 weeks.
Will I be paid?
Yes. It is our policy only to promote placements that offer students at least the minimum wage. Many students earn well above this during their Year in Industry placement year. Only in very exceptional circumstances would we permit a student to undertake an unpaid placement if they want to.
Can I do a placement abroad?
It can be more difficult to find a placement overseas, but the University’s Careers can help and advise you. Most students complete their placements in the UK. There are also certain restrictions on overseas placements, particularly outside the EU, and they must be individually approved. For instance it will be necessary to confirm that the level of employers liability insurance (or the equivalent) is at a level equivalent to the UK. We have a duty of care towards you as you are one of our students even though you are employed by the business for the year.
How do I find a placement?
During both the first and second year, you’ll receive support from the University’s Careers to seek out and apply for placements. You’ll need to be motivated and organised, but plenty of support is available! We supplement this by organising a 3-day Year in Industry preparation training course at the start of year 2 designed in collaboration with the University Careers staff and employers to kick-start your application process. It provides advice, guidance and training essential to the process of successfully finding a year placement. We do not provide placements for students, nor can we guarantee that every student will be successful in finding a placement. These are not gifts that are given out, but prizes to be won.
Somebody that I know has said I can work for them for a year if I do a placement – is that OK?
Possibly – a number of our students have undertaken placements that have come about through their own personal connections. All placements are reviewed by the School to ensure that students will be working at a graduate level (comparable to that expected on a graduate training scheme) and that they have the opportunity to engage with a true learning and development experience in their workplace, relevant to engineering. This is part of a programme of study and as such is regulated by the QAA so we need to ensure that the placement will enable you to meet our exacting standards. Provided that your placement opportunity meets these criteria, it should be fine.
What happens if I don’t get a placement?
Unfortunately, not all students are successful in finding a year long placement. Others decide that they would prefer to continue with their studies rather than complete a year-long internship, or perhaps they decide to add a Year in China or Year Abroad instead of a Year in Industry. Students originally on a Year in Industry programme simply transfer to the other version of the degree programme, possibly graduating twelve months earlier than initially planned.
Do I have to achieve a minimum grade to do a placement?
Yes. But provided that you successfully complete your first and second years of study, you will have the opportunity to progress to your placement year and undertake an internship if your average mark in Year 2 is at least 55% with no summer resits. The only exception is for students who have approved extenuating circumstances. There is strong competition for placements from students right across the UK, and employers can take their pick of academically-strong applicants. It’s therefore important that you work hard to achieve the best grades you can in order to maximise your chance of success. If you fail to achieve the 55% Year 2 average, UK and EU students may be able to undertake their placement year by suspending their studies for a year, but in that case the placement would not be part of your degree and you would not formally be a student.
Does the Year in Industry placement year count towards my degree?
Yes, it is worth 10% of your overall degree classification. During the year, you’ll be asked to keep a reflective “professional development log” and draw upon all your experiences in the assessments associated with the placement year. In May, all students on placement return to Liverpool for our Placement Conference, at which you will give a short presentation about your internship and what you have learned (students on placement overseas may be able to deliver their presentation remotely using e.g. Skype).
So I still have to study while I’m on placement?
Yes, there will still be some university work and assessments to complete whilst you work on your placement, designed so that it supports your own personal and professional development in the workplace by asking you to reflect on your experiences and to relate this to what you learned at University. Some students also take the opportunity to complete professional examinations or courses whilst they are on placement, often funded by their employer. It is the aim of this programme that we develop nuanced and sophisticated engineering student practitioners who are able to make an impact on any organisation they work for. Your studies will allow you to develop a more critical stance towards the topics you have been learning at university and learn how to adapt it to your circumstances in a thoughtful and creative fashion. The aim of this part of your studies is to help you develop as a leader.
What contact do I have with the University during my placement?
Every student completing a placement is assigned an academic supervisor. Your academic supervisor will normally visit you at your workplace early in the academic year, and later in the year you will either have another visit or a formal phone meeting. The visits let us know how you’re getting on, and are an opportunity to talk through your experiences, raise any concerns, and provide guidance on the academic side of the placement including your Placement Journal. If you’re abroad, the visit will probably take the form of a phone meeting. The Student Support Office will also keep in regular contact with you to sort out any problems that you may be having whilst on placement, and to ensure your return to study the following session proceeds smoothly. You also have access to all the University’s Support Services whilst on placement.
Which companies do Liverpool students get placements in?
Our students have completed summer and year-long placements at a wide range of companies, from small and medium enterprises to major international conglomerations. These have included Airbus, Rolls Royce, Leonardo Helicopters, Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch, Cadbury, Nissan, JCB, Triumph Motorcycles, Pentaxia, Caterpillar, GE Aviation, Balfour Beatty, MBDA.
Will I get a job at the end of my placement?
Some students have been offered full-time roles with their placement provider upon graduation, others are offered direct entry to the final stages of the interview process for the placement provider’s graduate scheme, it will all depend upon the individual companies recruitment policies. Whether or not they have confirmed employment after completing their placement, all our students agree that the experience and skills that they develop during their placement year give them a real head start in the graduate employment market.
I’d really like to study abroad as well as complete a placement – can I do both?
How many students achieve placements?
Across the University about 60-70% of students who start the 2nd year on a Year in Industry programme get a placement. However, this headline figure hides some of the realities of obtaining a placement. It is always surprising, but many of those who don’t get a placement don’t actually make any applications. If you don’t apply, you’re not going to go on placement. Many of those who don’t get placement are those students who don’t build the kind of profile employers are looking for. Getting a work placement is in many ways a test of your employability, and being on a placement helps to further enhance your employability. Employability is being able to display those capabilities that employers are looking for (e.g. confidence, willingness to work outside of your comfort zone, an ability to communicate effectively). The university provides all kinds of opportunities to develop these capabilities from the student societies, opportunities to volunteer, sports, summer internships, and even registers of part-time jobs. Many who obtain a placement make the most of these opportunities and build a personal profile that employer’s desire. If your extra-curricula activity is only clubbing, then you are hindering your chances of getting a placement. That’s not to say don’t have fun, but there are ways of enjoying yourself that count towards building that all-important profile. Join a society, become the entertainment officer, organise an event for the society and you will be surprised to find you are developing all kinds of skills from handling money and budgeting to project management and marketing.
I’m not from the UK – can I still do a placement?
This depends on the terms of your student visa. Some visas allow students to work in the UK if this is a requirement of the degree programme. Normally non-EU students should apply for a Year in Industry programme when they start their studies. For further advice about student visas, please see https://www.liv.ac.uk/studentsupport/ist/visas/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are the Year in Industry programmes accredited?
Professional-body accreditation is an important aspect of all our engineering programmes. As the Year in Industry programme variants only started admitting students in the last couple of years (part-way through our 5-year accreditation cycle) accreditation is pending and will be formally considered at each programme’s next accreditation point, most likely in 2021 or 2022. We expect all our Year in Industry programmes will be fully accredited, back-dated to cover all students admitted, alongside our other accredited MEng and BEng programmes.