So, first question, what is a placement year? A placement year is a year off from your course where you’ll work for a company in the field of your study. This is usually a full-time job with a salary (your university may have criteria that the role must fit in order to work there) allowing you to gain valuable work experience in preparation for when you graduate. It’s unlikely that you’ll just walk into a job, you’ll likely have to go out and apply then probably have an interview or two. That’s a lot of work! Why bother? Well, placement years can prove to be the starting point of your career. There are some companies that will make unconditional job offers to successful placement students encouraging them to return once they have graduated and even it this is not the case you will gain understanding of the world of work and valuable work experience.
So, If you’re a first year and thinking your CV isn’t too strong don’t worry! You’ve got a lot of time to strengthen it! Here’s a few things you could do:
- Volunteering – If in your field of study, this can show passion for the subject. But even still it will give you experience such as team skills etc.
- Uni societies – Talking about societies in your CV shows that you have interests and are social, it goes a big way.
- Part time job – Not only do you get a bit of money on the side, but it beefs up your cv with experience working in a team etc.
- Job over summer – Like a part time job but allows for more hours and responsibility
- Unilife Student Ambassador – Here’s a part time job where you can work where you live! Representing the Unilife brand is a part time job where you can work around your timetable and gain wonderful experience. Contact a member of the Unilife team if you’re interested.
If you’re a second year and you want to do a placement where can you go find one? Well there’s a few sites dedicated to exactly this, such as:
- GradCracker – Great site for STEM placements
- Ratemyplacement – Useful for reviewing companies based on other students who were placed there
- University of Portsmouth Careers Support
- Southampton Solent University Work Placements
- University of Southampton Work Placements
All that’s left to say is best of luck if you are applying, and If you’re still in your first year, do give it some thought and perhaps speak to your tutor to see if placements are available as part of your course.