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Placement Year Planning – 10 Top Tips.

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Placement Year Planning – 10 Top Tips.

Ever thought of doing a placement year? Here’s 10 questions (and answers) that may help you decide.

Have you ever thought of doing a placement year?  Some of the courses at CCCU will allow you to take a year away from the classroom to complete a year on placement in a relevant role.  If it isn’t something you have previously thought about, or you fancy the idea, here are 10 common questions that we have tried to answer:

1. What is a Placement Year? 

A placement Year (also known as a Year in Industry) usually takes place as the penultimate year of an undergraduate degree (i.e. between second year and your final year).  It usually starts in the summer and runs for a full 12 months.  You would normally work full-time during the year.

2. Is it part of your degree? Can it count towards your degree?

It depends.  It can be, but this will depend on your specific degree programme – you should talk to your PAT or Academic lead about this for your particular programme of study. If it’s not part of your programme, you might still be able to take a year out for it by intermitting. Talk to your academic team to find out what might be possible.

3. Is it paid?

Yes. There may be unpaid placements advertised in some industries such as journalism and fashion but almost all placement year roles are paid.  You are doing a full-time, proper job so they absolutely should be! Salaries vary from the Minimum Living Wage through to £30k+.

4. What are the advantages of doing a placement?

In addition to getting a full year of paid, real, supported work experience, you will also develop contacts in the organisation and industry you are part of that will help you when you are job-hunting.  Your CV will be transformed by the experiences you’ll have, and a very large percentage of placement year students walk away with a graduate job offer.  Imagine going into your final year knowing you have a job waiting and knowing that you were good at it!  And if that isn’t reason enough, statistically, students that have completed a placement year tend to get better degree results, get better graduate level jobs and earn more as a starting salary.

5. What kind of companies have placement years?

All sorts.  There are large, global corporations through to small local companies and even the public sector. 

6. Is it hard to get a placement year job?

That depends.  It can be but bear in mind that there are fewer applications than for equivalent graduate roles; inevitably some opportunities are more attractive than others.  Companies often use the same application process as for graduate jobs, so preparation and a good quality application are key. It can be hard work, but the rewards will be worth it! Let us know if you need our help (see below).

7. So, what is the downside of doing a placement year?

You’ll need to take a year away from studying and will graduate a year later.  You might also have to relocate for the year. The selection process can be time-consuming, and you need to put effort into getting good quality applications together and preparing for interviews or assessment centres.

8. What sort of thing would I be doing?

Placement year programmes are effectively the same as graduate jobs – some are highly specialised and ask for certain skills or experience – e.g. software engineering or digital marketing roles whilst others are looking for more general commercial, analytical or communication skills.  Remember they are not expecting you to be coming in with experience – they are hiring you for your potential and your ability to grow in experience and confidence during the year.  You will be supported through the year but will have real responsibilities and be encouraged to grow int the role over the year; a summer job may not let you do this in the same way.

9. Is help available if I am interested in applying or knowing more?

Yes.  Absolutely.  Talk to our Careers Team by booking a 1-1 appointment via the Careers Hub (just click here) or contact us at careers@canterbury.ac.uk.  We can help you understand the job requirements, help you draft an application or covering letter, and help you through the interview and selection process.  It’s what we do.

10. What sort of jobs are out there and how can I find them?

There are lots of resources depending on what type of role you are looking for – www.ratemyplacement.co.uk  is a great general starting point.   Here is a small selection of just 5 large, household names that are currently recruiting for a wide range of roles.  There are many, many more across different industries and locations.

  • Jaguar LandRover – lots of Engineering and Commercial roles – locations and closing dates vary but most roles are in Oxfordshire/the Midlands. Jaguar LandRover early Careers
  • Hewlett Packard – loads of UK jobs – Sales, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Technology, Software Engineering, Graphics and Communication etc etc – Hewlett Packard Placement Year jobs

If you can’t find something that appeals to you, talk to us and we can hopefully help you find it.

So, if you are tempted by the prospect of doing a placement year as part of your degree or to add to your experience, or if you have more questions about particular companies, roles or opportunities, just get in touch.  We’d love to meet you and can almost certainly help!

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