What if my course has a placement?
Are you worried if your course has a placement? Is having a placement good for your degree? Does your course involve a placement year? Unsure how to get the most out of placements? Are you concerned about getting enough experience to guarantee a good job after your degree? There are established sites and trusted reviews for you to find the right experience.
You have a placement year
This is where you usually have a four-year course and one of the years (generally in the middle or end) is where you spend it working at a placement. Some courses have placements throughout the course where you will have a couple of months working and the other time studying at university. Lots of courses can have placements from a Travel and Tourism degree to a Nursing degree. All experience is educational to your subject area.
How do I get a placement at university?
If the placement is part of your course, sometimes the course provider, university or your tutor will set up the placement for you. They may have a contract with the local area, like the hospital and have students there on a regular basis. Other occasions you may need to find the placement yourself, and this can be hard. You can seek your tutor for help and guidance, and the course should state whether you will be finding the placement yourself.
You want some work experience
Work experience is generally a volunteered and unpaid time where you work for a company or business in the field you want to be involved in. From glossy magazines to a museum, an experience can be vital and change how you feel about your chosen career. There are lots of websites for you to check what opportunities you could be interested in, like IdeasTap which is arts based and GoThinkBig which has a variety of opportunities and work experiences for young people. Remember that you will need to fund your own travel and lunch. Make sure you plan ahead to fit it in with your travels or currently working diary.
How do I know the placement is as good as it looks?
There are websites like Rate My Placement which has real students and people who have attended the work experience that you are looking at, and tell you how it really was. Sometimes employers can juice up the information to make it sound like you are interviewing The Queen or looking over David Cameron’s accounts, when in fact, you are making tea for the post boy. You can look at top employers or go through the different career fields to see if it is the right thing for you.
How do I know if the placement is right for me?
Firstly, you should think about how it is directed to your chosen career. If your dream is to be a Fashion Writer then attending a placement for a TV runner at ITV isn’t going to give you an idea about what your future life will be like! If you’re not sure what to study at university then take our; what degree should you study quiz. Think about how connected it is to your subject area, then your degree and then to your chosen career path. If you can tick all three boxes then surely you should have already applied by now!
What if I don’t enjoy my placement?
Firstly, congratulations on securing the placement! Hurray! However, once the glitter of celebration has settled and your first week at the placement is unsatisfying, then you need to evaluate your options. Remember, this is unpaid or a low-pay salary which means you are at the bottom of the pile. Employers need to test you first to see what you can do and what you are capable of. This means you need to show them that you love making tea and answering phones. Once all this is over, there may be a great chance to write that article or to sit in with a meeting with an important client. If you are unsure, talk to your friends, your tutors at university and even the person supervising you at the placement. They are all there to help.