What is a placement year?
Placement years, or ‘sandwich years’ are a year out of university, often in your third year, spent working in an industry relevant to your undergraduate degree.
Placement years are full-time employment and like regular employees, students get paid for their time working.
Various degree subjects offer the option to partake in a placement year, or it may be a compulsory requirement to complete a year in industry as part of your course. Undertaking a placement whilst at university can set you in good stead for finding a job once you leave university.
Why should I do a placement year?
If you’re undecided about whether to do a year in industry, here are some of the main benefits of undergraduate placements, along with further information on what they involve to help you decide if a year in industry is the right choice for you.
Helping your graduate job hunt and creating job opportunities
Finding a job after university can be tough – the competition is high and it’s hard to know how to make yourself stand out. Participating in a year in industry is a great way to gain valuable work experience, which can aid your graduate schemes UK applications.
If you need help with your graduate job search, from CV templates, to interview advice, Give a Grad a Go offer a personalised approach to aid you in every step of your application.
Often, undergraduate placements can lead to graduate job opportunities within the organisation you undertook your placement year in.
This is a great way to save time applying to graduate jobs and reduce the stress of final year.
Help with the transition into the working world
Work-life is totally different to university life. University placement years can help you figure out what type of workplace environment you enjoy working in and give you a chance to experience the routine of a normal working day.
With most work placement jobs, you’ll be working with people of all ages and levels of experience, this is a great way to boost your confidence and help you gain a solid understanding of what other people’s positions in the company involve.
You’ll most likely learn basic workplace etiquette such as the language to use in emails, and how to interact with clients and colleagues, learning how to navigate this is important in all graduate jobs.
Gain valuable transferable skills for future jobs
Year in industry placements can teach you a range of transferrable skills which are valuable for graduate careers.
Whatever placement year industry you work in, from business placements to finance placement years, you will be picking up valuable skills which are great to add to your graduate CV and can boost your job applications.
You’ll most likely be working within a specific department during your placement year, working within a team, and therefore you’ll be able to develop your teamwork and communication skills.
Useful interview practice
Applying for university placement year vacancies gives you the opportunity to practice your interview skills. You’ll most likely have an interview with the placement year companies you apply to as part of your application process, whilst this may be daunting and maybe your first formal interview, it’s a great way to gain interview experience before applying to graduate jobs.
Help decide what graduate career is right for you
There will most likely be aspects of your undergraduate work placement you really enjoyed, but there will also be aspects you didn’t enjoy as much.
Undertaking a placement year gives you a trial period to learn what you like and what you don’t, allowing you to have a better understanding of what you do want from a graduate career.
Perhaps you liked working in a small team and the flexible working hours, but you didn’t like the corporate structure. Your placement year is a great experience to help you to find the right job for you after you graduate.