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October 14, 2019, by Leah Sharpe

Placements – Ready, Steady, Go

By Caroline Nolan, Employability Officer

You are about to start your penultimate year of study. You may already have a Placement Year as part of your course or… you hear the term ‘placement’ mentioned by one of your friends. But what is the value of a placement? Why should you apply? What will you gain from taking this opportunity?

Placement Year or Optional Placement Year?

A number of courses at Nottingham include an integrated industrial year that is a compulsory assessed part of the degree programme. Typically the placement or job role will be aligned to your field of study. It is worth checking out our placement pages to get some useful tips on getting ready and maximising this career opportunity. An Optional Placement Year allows you to add in a full year work placement after your penultimate year of study. This is an assessed component of your degree programme so will be recognised on your degree transcript.

The great thing about undertaking a placement year is that having a full year of employment experience is guaranteed to help propel you ahead of the competition. The fact that you used your initiative to source and secure a placement demonstrates to employers your commitment and career focus for your future. Recent research data found that on average, UK based employers convert over 42% of their placement year students into graduate employees (Institute of Student Employers, 2017). You will also gain the experience of balancing your studies and making applications, so when you come to look for your graduate job the process will be easier!

Many students who go on placement take advantage of having less distractions in their final year to studying, maximising their degree outcome. In fact doing a placement year can improve your final year performance by 2.6-3.8% (Jones, Green and Higson, 2015)

But will you be missing out on the fun of the final year with your friends? Well, there’s no hiding the fact that some of your friends will not be there when you return from your placement. Remember, some of your friends may decide to stay on and do a masters course or may even do a placement year as well. So, it’s unlikely you will be on your own in your final year.

Other opportunities:

You may not want to take a year out from your studies. Instead, you could consider a short-term option. This could still offer you the opportunity to develop and boost your employability skills and explore different sectors.

Nottingham Internship Scheme

The Nottingham Internship Scheme provides a range of work experience opportunities and internships throughout the year exclusively  for students and graduates. Internships and placements are a great opportunity to see what the sector you want to go into is like, try out specific job roles, and gain the skills that employers want. You can gain valuable experience working in a small or medium sized company.

Nottingham Consultancy Challenge

The Nottingham Consultancy Challenge offers you the chance to gain hands-on experience of managing a short-term project for a local business or charity as part of a team. Applications for the Spring 2020 challenge are now open.

I’m interested, what next?

Firstly, check out our placement information on the website. Here you can research the benefits of taking a placement opportunity or explore shorter opportunities such as internships. You may have questions 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 to name a few. You can email the placements team any questions you have – taking a year away from university can be a daunting process so ask us anything. You could also research the wide variety of placement opportunities not just on MyCareer but also Rate My Placement for some inspiration.

Interested in applying for a placement? Take a look at our advice on applications, CVs and interviews. You can also book an appointment with the Careers team to discuss your next steps. 

Posted in Careers AdviceWork experience