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What is a placement year?

Time:2021-04-16 00:27:33


A placement year adds value to your UK-study experience by providing you with UK work experience during your degree. Click here to learn more!

What is a placement year?

Placement years are work experience opportunities available at UK universities that take place during your degree studies. They usually commence before the final year of your course and can last up to a full year.

As an undergraduate student, you have the option to include the placement year from the beginning of your degree. This is also known as a ‘sandwich course’.

They are also available for postgraduate students at a select number of UK universities and take place after the 1st year of your Master’s degree.

Placement years are a great way for you to put what you’ve learned from the classroom into practice in a real-world work situation. They are usually offered by various companies and organisations which are partnered with your university, who will assist you in your placement search and application process.

A placement will have you working in the same setting as the other members of the company, whether it’s an office, factory, studio or any other facilities depending on what you study. Depending on where you decide to do your placement, you may also have to move to another town or city to work.


Why should I go for a placement year?

The values of undertaking a UK placement year are many:

- Gain industry-relevant skills. If you already have a skillset from your placement which employers are looking for, you will stand out to them as an attractive candidate to hire.

- Putting what you learn into practice. You will be able to apply the knowledge and skills you learned in the classroom to a real-life setting.

- An insider’s look at the job-role/industry. You will be able to experience first-hand if the job-role/industry you are interested in is right for you and help define your career goals.

- Chance to fast-track to a graduate job. If you perform well during your placement year, you might be able to secure a graduate job with your placement organisation after you have completed your studies!

- A boosted CV. Having international work experience (especially from the UK) can help you stand out in the jobs market, making you a more attractive option for employers to hire.

- Industrial connections. You will come into contact with different people from different areas of industry which will help you build up your network. If you’re lucky, you might be able to meet your next employer during your placement experience!

- Transferrable skills training. These are skills which are needed in every area of work, such as time management, project management, communication, etc.

- A regular salary. Like any other job, you will be paid a certain salary for the work you do from the organisation you work with. This is can help you pay your tuition fees or living expenses.


How do I apply for a placement?

Some sandwich courses may already have a placement year with an organisation or company already prepared for you. In cases like these, you won’t need to look or apply for a placement opportunity by yourself.

Alternatively, if you are applying for a placement by yourself, the careers-service at your university will assist you in searching for opportunities available with their partners and other industry links. They will help you find the role or organisation that can help you meet your career goals and the industry you are interested in.

In some cases, you may have to go through a formal interview or assessment as requested by the organisation offering the placement year.


Which Master’s courses offer placements?

While placements are not usually included with a UK Master’s degree, we have seen a new trend of late where universities are starting to offer Master’s courses with an additional placement year to compensate the value of a UK postgraduate education.


If you’re considering a Master’s degree in business analytics, you can consider:

  • Nottingham Trent University – MSc Management and Business Analytics
  • University of Huddersfield – MSc Business Intelligence and Analytics (Professional Practice)
  • Northumbria University – MSc Business with Business Analytics (with Advanced Practice in Second Year)


If you’re aiming for a Master’s degree in data science, you can consider:

  • Cardiff Metropolitan University – MSc Data Science
  • Middlesex University – MSc Data Science
  • Coventry UniversityMSc Data Science and Computational Intelligence

While these are just some of the few popular Master's courses with placement available, there are a range of programmes in different subject departments available. These include food-science, accounting, hospitality, law, engineering, arts and more!

Click here to connect with a UKEC counsellor and discover what's available for you!

The bottom line…

The placement year will provide you with many valuable experiences outside of the classroom. Being able to work in a real company will help you build up the discipline and industry knowledge that you need when progressing towards your desired career.

What’s more, the new Post-Study Work Visa announced by the UK government implemented from Summer 2021 onwards will allow you to remain for 2 additional years in the country after graduation which can be used to secure new job opportunity or extend your employment. Should you perform well during your placement year and leave a good impression with your employer, you could potentially secure a graduate job during this pandemic hardship.

So, as you can see a placement year adds more value to your study-abroad experience. Having work experience, especially UK work experience, will be the difference between you getting a good graduate job and a GREAT graduate job which can bring you closer to your dream job and career goals.

To learn more about UK undergraduate and master’s courses that come with a placement year, click here to connect to one of our advisors today!