Focusing in on your placement year search, the application process and decisions based around getting a placement alongside your studies can raise lots of questions. We have advice from students who have been where you are now, and have completed their placement year and returned for their final year of study.
Anya, Physics Student, Student Recruitment Placement at PwC
I applied for 15 placements and got through to one assessment centre from my applications, PwC! I’m really glad I completed a placement year, I have gained a lot of confidence through the experience and feel more prepared than I expected to move into employment. I threw myself in the deep end and gained fantastic communication and commercial skills. I had constant challenges and a lot of responsibility in my job which I loved, there was never a dull day.
The transition from university to employment was easy for me, I knew I didn’t want a career directly related to my degree so took a placement year to explore other areas and options.
I received my offer in February and never looked back.
My top tips for securing a placement
Be flexible in terms of location, I applied for the Manchester office and ended up in the London office. Be resilient, it’s likely you will get rejections, keep going and use the support of Careers and Placements and your department…
I’m happy to support any students applying to PwC, join the Placement Year Facebook Group, I can answer your questions in there.
Olivia, Management Student, Management Trainee at Enterprise Rent a Car
I decided to apply for a placement year as part of my degree because I knew the graduate market is really competitive, and I wanted to be able to stand out from the crowd when I applied for graduate jobs.
The whole placement year process really helped me to build my resilience, increase my communication skills and my ability to deal with different people and situations has massively increased having had exposure on placement to lots of different people internally and externally to the business.
My top tips for securing a placement?
Be really proactive in your placement search, keep going, use the support of students who have been in your shoes and also connect with employers while they are on campus.
I’m happy to help if you are applying for placements at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. I know this year they are offering their two placements in their York branch exclusively to University of York students. This is where I was based, so happy to talk through the experience and provide any advice. Ask in the Placement Year Facebook group any questions you have.
Kadi, Environment Student, placement at Home Energy Scotland
I started my placement search targeting environmental consultancies, however I received rejections for these placements one after the other. Therefore, I started to think halfway through the year that I needed to look for summer internships instead and might have to give up on the idea of a placement year. At the same time, I was still hopeful and kept an eye on placement opportunities, too. I had to think outside the box a little bit and look for roles that were related to my area, environment, but not directly in the environmental field. As a result, I applied for Home Energy Scotland in a role that wasn’t actually advertised as a placement year but the organisation’s work helps to cut carbon emissions.
I gained practical skills in data analysis, reporting, dealing with difficult customers and I supported the customer service team which involved coaching from one on one to big groups. I returned from my placement very motivated, more focused and knowing what I wanted out of my modules and the final years of my degree.
A placement year really does set you apart and is something employers will recognise you for.
My top tips for securing a placement
Be very persistent, I was and I succeeded. You will have setbacks, so be prepared for them and it will be very rewarding. Be open minded about the scope of your placement – I didn’t get a placement in my chosen area but the skills I gained from my placement are helping me apply for environmental consultancy graduate roles, which was always my ultimate goal. I can more confidently apply for environmental consultancy graduate roles now.
You can ask Kadi questions on the Placement Year Facebook Group.
Any questions or support required for the Placement Year Programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to meet other students interested in the placement year programme we are holding two events this term:
Thursday 16 November
5pm – 6.30pm, Careers and Placements Office
Placements, Pizza and drinks – a chance to get to meet other students who are thinking of taking a placement, get some tips from the Placement Team whilst having a bite to eat and a drink or two.
Wednesday 29 November
3pm – 5pm, D/N/130 (Politics Dept)
Placements, Hot Chocolate and Mince Pies – A chance to catch up over a cup of hot chocolate on how everything has been going with your search, catch up with other students in the same boat and get some top tips before heading home for the Christmas vacation.
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