Integrating a placement year into your degree is a great way of developing skills and gaining a better understanding of the world of work.
Placement years are degree-based work experience opportunities with an organisation, lasting between 9-12 months. They are sometimes advertised as industrial or sandwich placements.
They tend to be aimed at undergraduate students in their penultimate year of study. Postgraduate and final year undergraduate students are not usually eligible as students are expected to return to their studies after completing the placement.
There are some year long placements available for graduates. ScotGrad offers 12 month paid placements for graduates of any UK University.
Work placements on all undergraduate degrees
If you are considering a placement year, check the Careers Service Eligibility Chart to find out who will be able to offer you support.
Some academic schools run specific placement year programmes. You can contact the relevant school co-ordinator listed in the eligibility chart to register your interest.
If your school does not run a placement year for your degree programme, you can register your interest in the Careers Service Placement Year.
Benefits of doing a placement year
A placement year can help you:
- apply your skills and knowledge to real business situations
- try out a career choice
- gain confidence and experience of adapting to different environments
- develop your commercial acumen and occupational awareness
- make contacts within the sector
- earn a salary for the work you are doing
- potentially receive a graduate job offer
Placements can also potentially lead to a higher degree classification. In 2015, 100% of Business School graduates who did a placement achieved either a 1st or 2:1.
When to apply for advertised placements
Applications start to open in September, the year before the placement will take place. They start to close between November and February. This is usually to allow for quite a lengthy application process.
Some companies may accept applications all year round, but it is best to start looking as early as possible.
See CVs and applications for details on how to make an effective CV, covering letter and application form.
Events to look out for
Recruitment fairs are not just for graduate jobs. Several employers at our events also offer placement years, so go along and find out more about their opportunities.
At our employer presentations you can hear about their placement schemes, build your network and ask questions. They usually take place at lunchtime or after 17.00.
Guides and advice
The following resources include advice, case studies and employer profiles:
Careers Service Placement Year
Work experience has never been more important. A placement year is an opportunity to get in depth experience, with continued support from the University.
Undergraduate students have the option to undertake a 9-12 month work placement, managed either by the Careers Service, or your school. This would take place after your penultimate year of study, extending your degree programme by one year.
By undertaking our placement year, you will be signing up to complete a 120 credit, year long module with the Careers Service. You are responsible for finding and securing a placement, but you will be supported by the Careers Service throughout the process.
How to take part
If you are in Stage 1 or Stage 2 during academic year 2016/17, check the Careers Service Placement Year Eligibility Chart to find out if the Careers Service will manage your placement.
1. Register your details and start looking for placements1. Register your details and start looking for placements
Fill in our Registration Form. We will contact your school with this information to get their approval for you to take part and confirm your eligibility.
Meanwhile, start researching and applying for placements using Vacancies Online and finding placements. You can attend our workshops for more help, and you can also use our drop in service. We offer a range of employer events for you to speak to recruiters face-to-face.
Like and follow our Careers Service Placement Year Facebook page to hear about placement opportunities, information, advice and events to support your placement search.
2. Get your placement approved2. Get your placement approved
Once you have a firm offer of employment, you can fill in the Placement Approval form.
We will consider your form and contact the employer to confirm the details you have submitted and request health and safety information. The length of time this takes will vary depending on the employer.
The 2017/18 placement approval deadline for international students, or anyone doing an overseas placement, is 14 May 2017. The deadline for UK and EU students to do a UK placement is 30 July 2017.
Deadline dates for 2018/19 will be confirmed shortly.
3. Access ongoing support3. Access ongoing support
Once your placement is approved, you will be allocated a placement supervisor who will be there as a guide through your placement year. They can discuss any personal or workplace issues you are facing.
You will also receive information about taking part in the Careers Service Placement Year Module and have contact with your module leader.
International students are eligible to undertake the Careers Service Placement Year module.
If you are extending your degree programme by one year in order to do the placement, you will need to apply for a new visa outside of the UK. The Visa Team provide a guidance document about this process on their Changes to your programme of studies webpage.
Types of placements
The type of role or setting you can work in during your placement year is very flexible.
You can choose to do one placement lasting 9-12 months, or you can do two placements which last at least 4.5 months each.
It is also possible to do your placement on a part-time basis. If you have a specific part-time placement in mind, please contact email@example.com with more information.
You can undertake your placement anywhere in the UK and in most countries overseas.
Our Overseas Placements guide covers key factors you will need to consider if you want to do your placement in another country. If you have questions after reading this guide, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
International students thinking of doing an overseas placement should contact the visa team about how this will impact their current UK visa.
The tuition fee for the year is £1000 (2017/18).
UK/EU students enrolled on the Careers Service Placement Year module should have access to a non-means tested tuition fee loan. UK students should also be able to apply for a reduced rate maintenance loan.
By doing the Careers Service Placement Year module you continue to be registered as a student and therefore have access to the same student discounts and benefits.
The Student Financial Support Team have produced a finance guide for students thinking of going on placement.
Find out more
There are two main ways to finding a placement year: applying for advertised placements, or seeking out hidden opportunities by networking and applying speculatively.
Schools sometimes advertise scholarships and competitions which can result in placements. Contact your school to find out if they run similar schemes or have contacts you could approach.
How to get started
Watch our 30 minute presentation on 'How to find a year-long placement', which covers:
- where to look for a year-long placement
- how to conduct an effective search
- where to find additional information and support.
To view the presentation with subtitles, click the CC button in the player below. You can also view a full screen version.
Search for advertised placementsSearch for advertised placements
The Careers Service advertises placements on Vacancies Online. Search for ‘placement’ under ‘work experience’ and log-in to sign up for personalised email alerts.
You can also use the following external websites to help you find a placement:
- Prospects – select ‘work experience’ under ‘types of jobs’
- RateMyPlacement – includes student reviews
- Student Ladder – lists placement opportunities for first, second and final year students
- TheJobCrowd – select ‘placement’ under ‘job type’
- AllAboutCareers: Placements
- Intern Avenue
- The Big Choice.com: Placements
- Graduate-Jobs.com: Internships
- E4S – placements in the UK and abroad
- STEP – UK wide project based work placements for students and graduates
- EmployAbility – advice and work experience opportunities specifically for disabled students
- Placement UK – paid placements for European students in the UK
- Instant Impact – opportunities with small and medium-sized enterprises
- Enternships – internships in entrepreneurial environments, including six month placements
Sector specificSector specific
To find placements in a particular sector, visit our Occupations site.
The Year In Industry website is a good starting point if you are looking for engineering or science placements.
For placements in finance, IT, patents and consultancy, try Inside Careers.
The Business School advertises year long placement opportunities on their Student Experience Blog.
The Careers Service has also produced work experience guides for specific subjects, including:
Not all placements are advertised. In fact, many people create work experience opportunities through networking and making contacts, or by developing their own business ideas.
If you have identified a company you would like to work for, you could try approaching them directly about possible opportunities. Send them a tailored CV and covering letter, expressing your enthusiasm for the sector and showing that you have researched the company.
Where possible, identify a contact name to address your covering letter to. Call or email to find out who is responsible for recruitment within the organisation or a key contact in the department you want to work in.
It’s useful to follow up a speculative application with a phone call a few days afterwards to show you are serious and motivated.
TARGETjobs have a useful guide about making a speculative application to find hidden opportunities.
- North East Graduate Directory – database of local organisations who offer work experience or accept speculative applications
- Researching employers – contains sources of company profiles and a list of business directories and databases
- Occupations – find employer directories for specific sectors
- LinkedIn – an online networking tool allowing users to connect with professionals across all industries
- LinkedIn's Find Alumni tool can help you find organisations Newcastle graduates are working in