Everything you need to know about work placements

Have you ever not got a job because you don’t have enough experience? More and more employers will prefer you to have enough experience as well as the right qualifications, with the former being more ideal.

The best way to gain experience is through doing a work placement, as it will give you a valuable head start when looking for a graduate job.

What is a work placement?

A work placement gives you the opportunity to acquire valuable experience whilst spending time working for an employer. There, you will be tasked with carrying out duties or responsibilities as if you were a normal employee of that company.

Work placements are very useful during your time in education with the more placements you do, the more impressive your CV will look when applying for a graduate job.

The company you do a student placement with will complement and support your degree qualification, and be mutually beneficial for you as well as your employer.

Why should you do a work placement?

It will give you a good head start amongst the competition. The experience you gain during a work placement will be very valuable as it will make you a more appealing candidate for future jobs.

You’ll be able to speak to current employees within the working environment and their inside information will give you a better understanding of what the job might entail.

Work placements can be seen as a “trial run”, allowing you to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the job and consider whether the job is for you or not.

Doing a work placement will also build up your contacts and friends within the industry, which could be influential when searching for a graduate job.

Work placements are usually voluntary meaning they’re unpaid, but that shouldn’t matter as the experience you gain will be more beneficial in the long run than short-term cash will be.

What is the difference between a placement and an internship?

An internship will normally last from 1-12 weeks and it could involve some travel. Internships will usually be offered to students and graduates outside of their university time, during reading weeks and half terms etc. Whereas, placements usually occur during university term time.

Internships will usually have the student focus on learning as well as working, although some city firms, like investment banks, love having their intern running errands for them as well as making the tea and coffee rounds.

Both placements and internships are very similar in terms of their definition. They both involve a period of full-time work experience at a company in which you have an interest in working for, and it’s usually held during or after your university degree course.

Placements and internships are a great way to build you confidence, have the opportunity to learn and watch, get a feel for different working industries and gain valuable life and work experience that will increase your chances of employment when looking for a job.