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May 3, 2019, by Katy Johnson

First Year Students Should Plan Ahead to Build in a Placement Year

By Chris Colegate, Careers and Employability Placement Consultant

Did you know that students on a course without a work placement year or year in industry can now build one in?  

The University introduced a new approach in 2018 that allows students to add in a full year work placement in their penultimate year of study. This changes a student’s degree to include ‘with Placement Year’ and the year out becomes a recognised element on a degree certificate.

Think BA English becomes BA English with Placement Year, BSc Economics becomes BSc Economics with Placement Year, BSc Psychology becomes…you get the idea.

The great thing is you can undertake a work placement in any field that you are interested in. It can be aligned to your degree or something completely unrelated! You may be a biologist who wants to take a year out to work in an ecology consultancy. You could be on the same degree heading off to work in marketing, finance or banking.

As long as the work is of ‘graduate level’ you really can explore any career field in the UK or overseas.

How does it work? 

Step 1 – Come back in the autumn and start applying to placements. They can be competitive and hard to secure but the earlier you start applying the better chance you have. Visit the optional Placement Year webpage to fill in a short expression of interest form and we will start sending you information about vacancies and how to apply as soon as you get back in the autumn.  

Step 2 – Once you’ve landed that dream placement (typically you’ll know by the spring) let the university know. You will transfer on to the with Placement Year version of your course. We will then help you get prepared, sort out student finance, give you advice on housing and get ready for an exciting year away from University.  

This all seems so far away!  

So you are just approaching the end of your first year in Nottingham and we are encouraging you to think about what you do at the end of your second year – yes this is a way off. But if you are serious about doing this you really do need to get started after your summer break, many bigger companies need you to have applied by Christmas so be sure not to miss deadlines for the companies you’re really interested in.  

Why bother? 

Nottingham students are already benefitting massively from this new optional Placement year and you can read from five of these students here 

Placement years are typically paid and often lead to graduate job offers. In some industries over 50% of placement year students are offered a graduate job with the same employer. This could be a huge benefit and relief as your return to university to complete your final year. There is also much research that shows placement year returners improve academically in their final year. 

I’m interested, what next? 

Firstly have a great summer and enjoy a break after your first year at university. Come and see us in the autumn and don’t forget to fill in the expression of interest form now so we can start to contact you once you get back.  

You can also email us any questions you have. Taking a year away from university for many can be a daunting process so do ask us anything. It could be about; how you find housing once you’ve secured a placement, what do you do about leaving your friends and coming back after a year away. What happens about student finance – really please ask us anything!

You will need to have obtained the placement by spring 2020. Take a look at our advice on applications, CVs and interviews. You can also book an appointment with one of our careers advisers.

Posted in Careers Advice