placement year

October 15, 2018, by Carla

Three Ways A Placement Year Can Help Your Career

By Kathryn Moss, Employability Office

A placement year or a year in industry is often a full academic year, taken after your penultimate year at university. It’s a great opportunity to get work experience, either related to your degree or career aspirations. 

So why should you consider an extra year?

1. You’ll benefit academically

A 2015 study found that placement year students improved their final year performance by between 2.6-3.8%.  

A placement year will allow you to practically apply what you’ve learned during your degree. The same can apply when you return for your final year tool; you might cover a topic in a module that relates to a task that you worked on during your placement year.

Spending a year in a structured work environment can also help you hone your time planning skills. You may also learn more about yourself and your working styles. Whether your placement is related to your degree or not, if you have limited experience working in a team or presenting before your placement, you will get opportunities to practise them in a work environment – great experience for you and your CV.

2. You might get offered a job

It is quite common for the company where you completed your placement to fast track you through their recruitment process. In some cases, students are offered a graduate job at the end of the placement year – providing you have done a good job, of course! If you have enjoyed your placement year with that company and decide to take them up on their offer, you could be entering your final year with a job lined up.

Even if you are offered the opportunity to return to your placement company after graduation, you might decide that you want to try something different. Maybe you worked for a larger company and you want to see what it’s like working for a smaller business? You might have even decided that the role you did in your placement year doesn’t match your career aspirations – this is okay!

You can learn a lot about yourself during a placement year and you’ll have a year of industry experience on your CV when it comes to applying for a graduate job. This will be so beneficial if you decide to apply for roles with other companies too.  

3. You’ll find it easier to transition into the workplace

We see many students throughout their final year who are worried about what life after university will be like. Often, the thought of leaving full-time education can feel quite daunting, so taking a placement year can help as you will have already removed some of the mystery about what it’s like to go to work every day.

Interested in a placement? Ask us for advice on how to find one, and how to prepare applications and for interviews. Are you studying for a degree that doesn’t conventionally include a placement year? Check out the new optional placement year here.    

Posted in Careers AdviceChoosing Your CareerWork experience