The second year of university is drawing to a close. You’ve extended the partying of first year for as long as possible but soon you’ll have to act like a responsible adult (a what?) and make some important decisions about your future.
One option you may be faced with is whether or not to undergo a placement year. Can’t decide? Let us highlight the benefits of a placement year, which can help you weigh up whether you’d like to take a year to do a work placement (you might think an internship or work experience works better for you).
As my great aunt Sheila always says, “You can’t learn how to do a job by reading a book.” And she’s right! No matter how clued up you are, you never know what the day-to-day job entails until you actually do it.
Internships and work experience are fantastic, and every student should be encouraged to seek them out, but they’re schemes of set work. On a work placement, you get stuck in to the nitty-gritty parts to a job and can be given real levels of responsibility.
A work placement is also a great way to develop those handy teamwork and interpersonal skills. You’ll work with some great people, but also some difficult individuals (maybe). All of is handy life and work experience – another thing great auntie Sheila bangs on about on the hour, every hour.
Improved Job Opportunities
Remember the time when you were told that university was “an investment in your future”. Yes? Good. A work placement is a chance to make the most of those £9,000 a year tuition fees and get some experience under your belt, whilst getting paid at the same time.
Unless you pass some very weighty brown envelopes under the table, it’s unlikely that you’ll land a graduate job without any previous experience. Undergoing a placement year provides you with this practical experience that will look super attractive on the CV.
Industry Awareness & Contacts
There’s no doubt about it; if you work in an industry for a year, you’ll get to know about current developments in the industry. Being aware of developments and how this could change the way the sector operates will give you the edge over other candidates.
Perform well on a placement year and you could even be offered a job at the end of it. If you aren’t offered a job, this doesn’t mean you’ve done a bad job, it may be the case that the company is not ready to expand just yet.
Regardless, you’ll network throughout your placement year, providing you with a list of contacts you can get in touch with after graduation (eek!) to see if there are any opportunities for you.
Sounds awesome, right? Are there any limitations to a placement year? Other than the fact you have to still pay a tiny bit of student loan and that your time at university will be extended for a year, there aren’t really any downsides to undertaking a placement year.