Why go on placement?
All our degree courses offer the opportunity to take a one year industrial placement during the third year of their course. Placements are paid jobs offering you a valuable opportunity to experience how the Engineering Industry operates giving you real world experience that employers are looking for, whilst being an integral part of your degree.
The placement year is a vital part of your learning and will add significantly to your personal development, self confidence, planning, communication and business skills. Statistics show that students who have undertaken a placement year benefit from a better graduate job, higher graduate starting salary and a better degree classification. In a competitive graduate market, valuable experience and employability skills gained from a year's work placement will differentiate you from thousands of other graduates seeking work. Students return from their placement year with their confidence and personal skills significantly enhanced.
Undertaking a placement is a great opportunity for you to find out about a particular job that interests you and get the necessary skills to help you secure a job when you graduate. Many of our students return from their placement year with sponsorship and the offer of a permanent job from their host company.
Reasons to go on placement:
If you're still not convinced, here are ten reasons why placements are so beneficial:
- Understand your industry sector better
- Help you to decide exactly what you want to do after you graduate
- Increase your chances of employment after graduation
- Gain a better degree classification
- Have the chance to put the academic theory into practice
- Enhance your CV
- Develop as a person and grow in confidence
- Make valuable industry contacts
- Make new friends
- Earn extra money
Don't just take our word for it though. The BBC reported that graduates who took a placement/internship were 3 times more likely to secure a job than those who did not. You can also hear what our students think about their recent placements in the videos and testimonials, check out 'Our Students' on the next page.
Will I get paid?
Whilst on placement, you are usually paid by the company and are treated as a company employee with appropriate responsibility. You might be filling a vacancy in the organisation, be asked to support a particular department or to take on a project that other staff may not have the time or skills for. You will be allocated an industrial supervisor within the company and an academic tutor from the University's academic staff. Your industrial tutor will provide guidance on a daily basis whilst the academic tutor will provide support and visit you twice at your company. Placement salaries typically range from £14k to £20k.
How can I find a placement?
Students are responsible for securing their own placements. The School will provide as much help and training as possible to assist with this process, but you will need to put in the effort; securing a placement is challenging in the current economic climate.
The School has an excellent network of organisations which offer placements including Rolls Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, Graham Construction, IBM, Blackberry etc. These companies sometimes advertise placement positions through the University, however most organisations advertise placements on their own websites or through recruitment websites - this is usually done in the autumn time October/November/December for placements starting in the following summer so it is important to start looking for a placement as soon as you start your second year. We also approach existing placement providers to offer further placements for students. You are strongly advised to apply directly to a company with your CV and covering letter as this approach shows much initiative and motivation and many students have been recruited on this basis.
Placement information, announcements, placement vacancies, handbooks, useful documents, useful links and resources are available on the Placement organisation on the University's Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard.
Placement vacancies and information is emailed to students as and when the information is made available to us.
What help is available?
We organise a series of Workshops in Semester 1 to help with CV writing, applications, interviews and psychometric tests – these will be scheduled on your timetable. Roy Christian is a dedicated careers advisor for the School of Engineering; you can arrange an appointment to meet Roy or turn up to her weekly drop-in sessions throughout the year. Before starting the application process, it is vital that you have attended the careers workshops and that your CV has been checked. Check out what some of our students said about Career Development Services.
How can I find out more?
In week 3 or 4 of semester 1 in your second year there will be a pre-placement meeting scheduled on your timetable. There are other similar meetings scheduled in semester two and will also be on your timetable. The placement procedure will be fully explained during these meetings and hand-outs will be provided. Representatives from industry also visit us to give talks to students about placements and graduate careers; these normally take place in semester 2 of your second year – details will be emailed out and posted on Blackboard.
For students on accredited engineering programmes the placement is the first step of their Initial Professional Development (IPD) and contributes significantly towards gaining chartered status.
Placement years usually start between June and September for a minimum period of 45 weeks in an approved organisation. Students must achieve an average assessment mark of at least 50%. All elements of assessment must be completed: interim report, final report and poster presentation. Because every placement is different, allowances will be made for the type of work and opportunities available to the student in the particular placement. This ensures that each student's performance is assessed, rather than the placement role.