Why you should do a Year-in-Industry placement
If your course has an option to do a Year-in-Industry placement (otherwise known as a sandwich placement), it is something that you should strongly consider undertaking. Here’s why:
Experience during university
Employers will look for you to have undertaken some form of experience during university as a prerequisite and there is no better form of experience than a placement. While part-time work, internships, and voluntary work are all valuable – having completed a sandwich placement is what stands out the most. That’s because experience demonstrates that you can deliver a high standard of work, over a long period of time.
It’s a graduate role before your graduation
Many sandwich placements can be a great taste of life in a graduate role. Sandwich placements are often similar in scope to graduate roles – they aren’t a cakewalk by any means! Often you will be given business-critical tasks or projects and to be successful you will be need to be on the ball with your organisational and time-management skills.
It’s also a great opportunity to build your connections. Make sure you add your colleagues on LinkedIn and ask your manager for a work-place reference. This will help you find something in a similar industry after graduation – or your host company may offer you a graduate role to rejoin them after your final year!
Put your course into practice
While your course may have practical elements, there is nothing equivalent to using your knowledge in a work setting. Over the course of the year, seeing how your knowledge and skills impact on the success of the business is invaluable and it gives you some great examples for any projects or later interviews that you will take part in. It will also give you a unique perspective on your final year studies.
Experience the working world
Working full-time can be difficult to adapt to, if you haven’t previously experienced it before, especially for a long period. Your placement will give you the experience of simple but important things like commuting, how to organise your life around your working hours, social life with your colleagues, office etiquette and more. Some students move to a different city for the placement year and this is a good learning experience. Having to adapt to new environments, finding new friends, living on your own or with working professionals are all challenges that will be good to overcome.
Finding the right career
Before you actually start working in a role, you won’t know if it really is for you. Things do change quickly in many industries, and over the course of a year you will get a good grasp of the different elements of any role. Each graduate role is tough and there will be challenges and sometimes the negatives outweigh the positives, but you can only find this out first-hand. Even if your placement isn’t what you thought it would be, it is still fantastic experience and useful to know that you will need to explore different avenues.
Finding a placement isn’t always straightforward, places are limited and not everyone will manage to find a placement. However, here are some tips that will give you the best chance of finding a placement:
Many programmes close early (October/November), especially with larger employers. Make sure you start your search early if you do have your sights set on the top 100
Talk to your careers service
They will have links to many local and national employers and will possess a wealth of information on schemes that you might be interested in. They will also be able to offer advice on applications and help you to improve your CV.
Consider smaller employers
While the bigger schemes close early, smaller employers can be looking for sandwich placement students as late as April and May. Not all opportunities are widely advertised, so keep an eye on your university job board and do some research into smaller local employers. There’s no harm in sending a few proactive emails to potential employers even if they have no specific roles advertised on their website.
Step is a leading provider of student and graduate placements and internships. We offer undergraduates and recent graduates a range of work experience opportunities. All Step opportunities have a genuine development focus, are structured and often project based.
By registering and creating a profile with us, you will have access to a range of opportunities on our website, and we will be able to contact you directly if a great role comes along.
You can find out more about Step on our website: www.step.org.uk