For this month’s blog entry Aida Malovic (Year in the Industry coordinator), invited one of the most recent students who’ve completed their placement year, to contribute with an account of their experiences. Kyle provides a very honest and interesting summary of the placement. This might be of interest to any of our current single honour students who are considering going on the year long placement between their second and third year of academic study. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact aida.malovic@canterbury.ac.uk.

My name is Kyle Anderson, I am a Student at CCCU about to go into my fourth year as an undergraduate studying Psychology. I spent my third academic year in a work placement, working in a private mental health clinic based in Canterbury. Doing a work placement during my undergrad was completely voluntary and not required but in hindsight I believe it was the right decision and the best choice for me.

I chose to do a work placement because I’m aspiring to become applied psychologist and due to the competitive nature of employment within a psychological role after completing an undergrad degree, I knew it would be advantageous to have experience in a clinical setting when applying for jobs. In addition, part of the application process when applying for the clinical doctorate to become a registered psychologist, is at least one years’ experience in a clinical setting. So, it made sense to use this opportunity to get the experience I needed under my belt.

During the academic programme (and in my first two years of my degree) you will learn a lot of theory and it can encourage and develop a critical way of thinking which is an essential skill as a student of psychology but also in general life. However, working within a clinical setting, you get the opportunity to see the theory in practice, which increased my interest and understanding of psychological theory. In addition, the academic programme cannot show you the little intricacies and components that go on everyday within this work environment. I was also lucky enough to get the chance to have one-to-one time with a patient on a weekly basis who had acquired a brain injury and see first-hand how damage to a specific area of their brain had affected them and their functioning in daily life. I was able to apply some of the theory I had learnt during the academic programme in previous years, which again was an eye-opener as I had formerly only heard how it would hypothetically be used. With this opportunity I was able to see how it worked for myself. Being able to spend time with one of the patients also allowed me to develop new skills which I believe will be important to hold onto in my future career.

The biggest thing about doing a year in placement was that it made me realise exactly what I want from a career in Psychology. Initially I wanted to be a clinical psychologist but working at a private mental health service and being exposed to a variety of different psychological services such as Adult Mental Health, Autism and the Neurorehabilitation service, I realised my interest is in Neuropsychology and Brain Injury. Once discovering this I was able to plan and research the necessary steps required to become a neuropsychologist.

Personally, I would recommend doing a year in placement as it allowed me to acquire new skills and learn new things which have essentially made me more confident about my final academic year and continuing my journey to become an established and registered psychologist. On a placement, you will be surrounded by an abundance of knowledge from all the different therapists around you and this has also given me the opportunity to network and meet different people in different professions with expertise in different fields which hopefully will be beneficial to me in the future.

The advice I would give to anyone willing to do a year in placement is to remain open-minded and be willing to try new things outside of your comfort zone.

Kyle Anderson
4th year psychology student