Whatever degree you choose at University, work experience is super important for gaining further knowledge into the subject & the industry, but will also help you to get a job after Uni.
Whatever degree you choose at University, work experience is super important for gaining further knowledge into the subject & the industry, but will also help you to get a job after Uni. Placements can be a great way of getting this vital experience which will aid your studies and career. Some courses include a placement, with some courses it’s your choice when you complete a placement, some run alongside studying and with others, you complete a placement on your own time.
Actual experience of working in the industry
Unless you’re a mature student, a placement will probably be your first experience of working in an ‘actual’ job in your chosen field. This gives you valuable insight into what your future could be, how these workplaces operate, what it is like working with a diverse range of people and which areas of the job really interest you. Understanding of the industry will aid you in making well-informed decisions in the near future.
Improved skills & knowledge
Placements may give skills specific to the industry and subject choice, as well as knowledge of the industry sector, which can be applied to future roles, learning and assessments. There has also been some research linking higher grades to completing placements at University.
Working in a company within the industry will make you highly desirable for employment. You will have gained a first-hand understanding of working in a similar job, have degree-level knowledge, have experience with collaborative & individual ways of working and an all-important reference. The so-called ‘foot in the door’ and possibilities of networking can also prove very beneficial later in your career.
Some placements are offered in different countries to where you are completing your degree. This will not only provide you with the advantages listed above but also an understanding of cultures, language and how businesses work in other countries.
Distraction from studies
If your placement runs alongside your studies, it may take up some of the time you’d usually spend studying, going to the library and extra research. Finding a correct balance here is key, in order to devote enough time to each area of your life.
A break from studying
Some people benefit from having an end goal, and by extending this by doing a placement year, this could result in a reluctance to restart your studies. There is also the thought of not finishing Uni the same time as your friends, and missing out on spending 3rd year with them. However, fear not, you won't be alone in your final year and there will also be other placement students who return who will have had the same experience as yourself.
Lack of support
Whereas some universities offer sandwich degrees, others leave placements totally up to their students. If there is no support, it could be difficult to organise the logistics and plan your placement with a company.
Whatever you decide to do, when considering doing a placement, try to plan it in advance, so you have time to prepare. It’s easy to see the advantages of placements and how these can affect your future in a positive way, they may be hard work at the time but you’ll certainly see the benefits later on.