What is work experience?
What are the benefits of work experience?
- Build a number of key employability skills
- Put theory of your course into practice
- Get a taste for your chosen career, helping you to make informed decisions
- Expand upon your professional network
- Potentially earn money around studies
- Learn skills you cannot develop on your course.
How can I get involved?
What is a placement?
Also referred to as a placement-year, sandwich-year, work-placement or year in industry. For many subject areas a placement is an integrated part of your degree, entirely optional, but strongly encouraged. Taking place after your second year of study, you’ll work for a company/organisation for six to twelve months (depending on your degree). Once complete you return for your final year of study, with a whole year of work experience to add to your CV.
Why do a Placement?
In addition to providing you with an opportunity to apply your subject knowledge and technical skills in a professional environment, a placement also provides an invaluable insight into organisational communication, culture, professional workplace behaviours, applied skills and working relationships. Placement students also feedback how incredibly valuable the experience has been in increasing self-confidence and encouraging reflective practice, while also developing many ‘missing skills’ that employers look for in graduates.
Benefits of a placement
- Enhanced employment prospects – many students go back to their placement provider at the graduate level
- Improved skills and knowledge, including ‘softer’ employability skills, and specific technical skills and competencies
- Increased understanding and awareness of the world of work, ability to articulate skills and achievements and self-awareness
- Broaden your network of professional contacts.
Many courses provide the option of a placement. Before looking for opportunities check your programme specification or speak to your personal tutor to find out whether an optional placement year is available to you. If your course doesn't offer a placement or work-based learning, the Careers Service can explore other work experience options with you.
We have a dedicated placements team and your subject area has an allocated Placement Adviser. Throughout your second year you’ll have access to:
- Timetabled sessions designed to help prepare you with finding/securing a placement.
- Tailored placement subject pages, with a number of resources and top tips, including ‘lists of placement providers’.
- Employer and returning placement student guest speakers.
- Daily placement drop-in appointments, for help with applications, interview preparation, and placement search techniques.
- The Careers Hub - open daily with a large number of on-line resources to benefit your search.
Where to look?
- Make use of the placements team and your Placement Adviser, with years of experience they really can help.
- Regularly check the placements advertised via the myCareer platform (opportunities from Target Jobs also show on here).
- Many of the placements via myCareer are direct from employers we’ve had students placed with before. We also ‘tag’ the roles specifically for your subject area, making the process even easier for you.
- The earlier you come for help the better, but never presume you’ve left it too late, come and speak with the team who can advise you on what is available.
Placement year tuition fee
- Placement Geophysical Surveyor Land/Water, ADEDE, Belgium (student studying BSc Ocean Exploration and Surveying)
- Research Assistant, Marine and Environment Research Lab (MER), Cyprus (student studying BSc Marine Biology)
- Ports & Maritime Placement, Jacobs, Dubai (student studying BEng Civil Engineering)
- Zora Bots, Robotics Intern, Belgium (student studying MEng Robotics)
- Games Designer, Netherlands (student studying BSc Computing and Games Development)
- MTU Rolls Royce Power Systems, Germany (student studying BEng Mechanical Engineering)
- Marketing and Sales Intern, BASF, Netherlands (student studying BA International Business)
- Intern Operations, Morgan Stanley, Frankfurt (student studying BA Hons International Business)
- PR & HR Intern, Nepal Realistic Solutions, Kathmandu – Nepal (student studying BA Hons International Business)
- Make yourself known to your allocated Placement Advisor and start the process of looking for the overseas placement early, ideally at the beginning of semester 1.
- There can be more to consider and work through, such as a visa, travel and accommodation arrangements and sourcing the opportunity, so being proactive with the process is important.
- Stay organised with the process – log which organisations you have approached and your progress with the application and travel arrangements.
- Improves your range employability skills
- Flexibility – often internships can be completed during the holiday periods or on a part-time basis around your studies
- Network with professionals in your field of study – an internship could lead to future employment
- Gain valuable work experience to put on your CV and boost future applications.
- Central Student Ambassadors undertake activities on open days such as guest registration or campus tours.
- Subject-Specific Student Ambassadors talk about their course in more depth.
Others ways you can gain work experience whilst at Plymouth
Volunteering with the SU
Volunteering is a fun and flexible way to gain valuable experience, to develop your skillset whilst making a positive impact and giving back to the community. It also says a lot about you as an individual and can be an interesting talking point when in future job interviews. The University of Plymouth SU collaborates with charities and organisations so that you can be more than just your degree and develop so much more.
For information visit https://www.upsu.com/volunteer/
Work Based Learning (WBL)
WBL is like mini placement where you gain work experience over one module during your normal studies, with some credit attached. Different courses have work-based learning modules in different years, so ask your lecturer or personal tutor if this is an option that is available to you. Remember, if WBL learning is not part of your degree then speak with the Careers Service about an internship or placement.
Employers we regularly engage with
Stand out to employers
Hear from recent graduates and current employers on how to stand out as a candidate when looking for a placement or graduate role.
"Go the extra mile. Look for placements even if it’s voluntary or just for a few weeks, it will benefit you in the long term. The more things you can put on your CV the more you stand out."
"Soft skills are the primary differentiating factor between one candidate and another. The ability to articulate clearly and confidently in an interview is important."