Posts Tagged ‘Placement’

How placement prepares you for final year



When making the decision to take a placement year, there are a variety of benefits you will be made aware of, for example, it is real life on the job experience, you will likely receive a salary and it is more experience to add to your CV before you graduate. However, one major factor that may be forgotten is how it may benefit/prepare you for final year. As a student currently on placement, I can already see how certain skills I have learnt and developed over the past 8 months on placement will help me.

Time management; an area that many of us believe we’re good at, but when it comes to submitting assignments, we are all too used to those late nights wishing we had started weeks ago. Does that sound familiar? When it comes to final year, the workload is immense; thank you to all my final year friends for making me fully aware of what I’m letting myself in for. If like me, you’re considering doing a dissertation, this skill becomes even more valuable. My major recommendation, would be to treat any essay you are given, like a report your manager has asked you to complete. I know you might be thinking ‘easier said than done’, but for those who haven’t had the opportunity to go out on placement, they will likely be in the same mind-set they were in in 1st and 2nd year. View your placement as a trial year, for getting the hang of planning and meeting deadlines, because your managers certainly aren’t going to be as lenient as your tutors.

Public speaking; did a wave of panic just hit you, like it did me? In 1st year these were two of my most dreaded words, from presenting in class, to answering questions. In your final year, group presentations are likely to be a common assessment, so ensuring you are confident and prepared is essential. My advice would be to get as much experience presenting while on placement as you can, whether it is just to a couple of colleagues or an all team meeting. This is an opportunity to practice how you present yourself, in terms of body language, projecting your voice and overall confidence. Being able to perfectly execute a presentation will allow you to clock up those essential marks that will certainly help your overall grade. Another area this will help you with, are interviews for graduate employment, being able to sell yourself is essential.

So there are you are, a couple of skills that I have learnt while on placement that I believe will be invaluable for final year.


Life as a placement student: December – Deadlines and Deliveries




A little late now but hope I you all had a fabulous Christmas and a happy New Year! I’m now well into the painful January detox after a month of eating and partying. I can safely say I’m not missing the January exams you’re currently going through (good luck!), but I especially miss having Reading Week aka ‘re-freshers’ to you lot. December at Sky was magical – we had our own Christmas market, petting zoo and even a visit from a life-size Hulkbuster! We were also taken out for a delicious Christmas lunch with the team at The White Hart, Barnes Bridge.



The last 2 months at Sky have been a complete whirlwind. Following the back end of the delivery of the Sky Movies Christmas brand campaign our own team delivered and launched The Sky Difference brand campaign, which went live on Boxing Day. In a nutshell this campaign showcases the amazing benefits Sky offers all of their customers at no extra cost! We wanted to push out 4 messages to customers reminding them they get Sky+ app, Smart Series Link, Catch Up channels and the Sky Atlantic channel. This was done across TV, digital, VOD, Out of Home and Radio.


Over the past few months we have had a few curve balls thrown at us, including battles over music usage costs, last minute changes to legal lines and getting approval on the TV ads from governing body, Clearcast. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is learning how to deliver pieces of creative within hours of the delivery deadline and the main learning from this campaign for me is that the devil is definitely in the detail, especially when doing the final checks!

Over the next few months I’ll be working on another brand campaign which I will update you on next time!

Thanks again for reading!!

Any questions?







Life of a Placement Student: Applications and Interviews Abroad



Hi my name’s Dani and I’m the Enterprise placement student for Careers, Employment and Enterprise. Through these posts you will get an insight into the daily tasks and life of a student on placement. Firstly, I would like to give you some background information about myself; I am a BA Business Studies student at the University of Hertfordshire and have just spent the last year studying abroad at the University of Western Sydney, which was an incredible opportunity.

Whilst abroad, I had the struggle of attempting to find a placement for when I returned home for my third year. Fortunately, I found this opportunity advertised on and sent through my CV and Cover Letter and was lucky enough to be shortlisted for an interview; however it wasn’t your regular interview, it was via Skype. For any student currently abroad applying for jobs back in the UK, or students interested in working abroad, Skype will become extremely important for interviews. To some degree, it makes you feel less nervous because you aren’t in the room with the interviewers. But at the same time you have a lot of responsibilities, in particular making sure your surroundings are appropriate. For example, make sure you’re in a quiet location, preferably your bedroom and don’t forget to put a note on your door…having flatmates or unexpected guests walk in during your interview isn’t going to end well!

Also, TIME ZONES, the bane of our existence, making phone/skype interviews much harder than expected. Make sure you confirm the time of your interview and ensure any number you provide to your potential employer includes the dialling code appropriate for your country. My advice to any student in their second year looking for a placement, would be to start early and make sure you make the potential employer is aware of your location in your cover letter. It’s important to bear in mind some companies may not put you through to the interview stage if they don’t get to meet you in person. However, fortunately there is a growing number of international companies and they understand, that in order to recruit a multicultural and well-travelled workforce, they must appreciate and incorporate these forms of communication when interviewing for a vacancy.

Hopefully you found these tips helpful and I look forward to updating you with further insights into the ‘Life of a Placement Student’ soon!


Life as a placement student: A small fish in a very big pond


Three months ago I began my (rather crazy) placement journey as a Brand Marketing Assistant at Sky in the Brand Communications team. After my first week the sheer size of the business I was in soon dawned on me, being 1 of 30,000 members of staff; having a marketing budget in excess of £350m a year and serving over 12 million UK customers. Not to mention working on a campus bigger than College Lane, which accommodates 16 office buildings, 8 restaurants/cafes, a state of the art gym and hair/beauty salon!

When I first started I was anxious about a whole load of things… Will I like my role? Will my team like me? Will there be help when I need it? Will I be taken seriously as a placement student? I can now confirm the answer to all of those questions is YES. The employees at Sky make it an extremely enjoyable place to work. No matter what your level your voice will be listened to, help will be at hand and all with a smile.



                      My first day with the other placement students at                      the Loft Italian Restaurant on campus







So, what have I actually been doing since I started? In the Brand Communications team we’ve been working on two main campaigns, Sky Movies Christmas and The Sky Difference. The Sky Movies Christmas campaign (rather self explanatory) is an exciting through the line, brand awareness campaign that invites consumers to ‘Step into the Adventure’ with Sky Movies, this Christmas. The Sky Difference Campaign is a brand awareness campaign that goes live on Boxing Day to remind Sky customers about the amazing benefits they receive with their Sky packages, when they might be thinking about cancelling. My other day-to-day responsibilities include managing the Best Practice programme and website – this is a training programme that offers all employees in Sales & Marketing a variety of workshops to aid their development at Sky. I’ve been going to all of the sessions on the programme, which has aided not only my development, but also my networking skills from visiting a range of specialist agencies (my inner uni student was exposed when visiting Facebook HQ – FREE food!).

Thanks for reading! Any questions?

Watch our TV ad for the Sky Movies Christmas campaign here !

Life as a placement student: It’s just the beginning…



When I first sat down at the start of my second year to listen to a seminar about placements, I honestly never thought I would ever set aside time to pursue one. However, I persisted and, with the backing and support of the university, managed to secure a very good placement with Ricardo Ltd DTS (Driveline and Transmission Systems) in Royal Leamington Spa at the Midlands Technical Centre. It’s been a busy year, to say the least, especially going through the whole process of finding a placement to begin with.

I remember frantically applying online to just about every company in the Automotive and Motorsport industries (as I am doing Automotive Engineering with Motorsport MEng). Some placements will open the doors for students as early as September. Despite this, I started to apply in January which I regret doing now since some placements had already closed applications by then – it is best to apply as early as possible so you do not miss out on your ‘dream’ placement closing early for applications. In total, I had applied for over 10 different companies. As the old saying goes, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’.

What helped me significantly was the Careers, Employment & Enterprise service at the University of  Hertfordshire. At your convenience, you can book yourself in to go over anything such as revising your CV, gaining interview tips, or to simply talk about your prospective career in general. I thought I had a really good CV. But, after visiting the Careers, Employment & Enterprise  service, I realised there were many many areas of improvement!

Slowly, interviews started to show up in January. Annoyingly, some of them meant I had to miss lectures to get to the interview days. This is pretty much unavoidable, though, lecturers are more than happy to help you go over the content you may have missed: after all, lecturers and the university encourage students to take up placement years as part of their degree.

So after my CV was trimmed and I was suited and booted ready to take on the world, I headed off week after week to interviews. The experience I gained from being interviewed so many times really did help – it was the last company that interviewed me that I accepted a placement with.

So here I am, at Ricardo as part of the Control and Calibration department for driveline and transmission systems. Already, I could honestly say I have learnt far more about MATLAB mathematical software, transmissions and business life than I would have ever learnt at university. The great thing is that I am only reaching four months into the placement! It really is just the beginning…

How to find a placement abroad

Working abroad for your placement year can really boost your career. Not only will you gain valuable work experience but you will demonstrate that you are an independent and adventurous person with an international perspective and additional language skills. These are qualities highly desired by employers.

So how do you find the opportunities and apply? You’ll need to put some extra effort in. You’ll have to cope with overseas application processes, different languages, time zones and expectations. You’ll also need at least a basic proficiency in your target country’s language.

If you are an EU citizen, perhaps the best place to start looking is within the EU as this will reduce complications with visas. If you are looking outside the EU or you’re from a country outside the EU, remember that visa applications can be complicated and often have fees attached. Seek advice about this before applying.

You could start by looking at the websites of large multi-national companies who are based in the UK to see if they are advertising overseas placements. You should also check regularly for vacancies.  Try your network – maybe a message on Linked In or other social media or asking your contacts. If you have a part-time job with a large company, ask if they have any opportunities abroad.

There are several specialist online resources to check:

Rate My Placement International – job adverts and resources for placements abroad

IAESTE – International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience

AIESEC – international organisation for placements and internships

Going Global – resources for job searching and job vacancies worldwide

Finally, don’t forget to book an appointment with an adviser from Careers, Employment and Enterprise and attend a workshop. We have one on CVs for International Students on 17.11.15 in Room W128, Law Block, de Havilland Campus. Booking is via CareerHub.

Still undecided about taking a placement year? – hear from those at the end of their placement.

Following the ‘Undecided about taking a placement blog released last week, we asked our returning placement students about their placement experience so we could tell you about what they gained from it.

We were interested to hear what their motivations were for doing a placement; 76% of them said that it was to help improve their long term career prospects which is great news as the 2015 Highflier reports states that 31% of all graduate vacancies are expected to be filled by undergraduates who have had previous work experience with that organisation – such as an industrial placement.

Looking at the comments below from some of our students it is quite clear to see that undertaking a placement can be a great experience:

  • “The experience you gain on a placement year is invaluable and every student should endeavour to secure a placement.”
  • “The placement year has been one of the best experiences to date, I would recommend it to anyone.”
  • “Not only does completing a placement help you expand your industry awareness and give you a real taste of a full time job, but it can also give you a competitive edge through providing the opportunity to gain experience in that field which may help you to stand out against other applicants.”
  • “Great experience. Would recommend it 100%.”
  • “The placement year was definitely an experience not to be missed, helps you develop yourself in the working environment and learn what is required of you.”

Undertaking a placement is not only beneficial career wise, it can also help build character and confidence which is invaluable. It also gives you a taste of the ‘real working world’ and a level of responsibility which you can thrive in.

  • “Great decision to make, not only for a career choice but also personal growth.”
  • “It was the best thing I’ve ever done as I gained valuable work experience to help me in my career and gained a lot of confidence in myself”.

The important thing to remember when applying for placements is to apply early. One of the respondents mentioned that many of his friends failed to secure a placement. It is important to realise that when applying for placements you are not only competing against fellow University of Hertfordshire students, you are competing against students from universities across the UK and maybe even beyond that.

It can be difficult to find jobs so when an opportunity arises for you to network with recruiting employers on campus don’t miss it. Meet recruiting placement employers at the Graduate Recruitment & Placement Fair; for more information and to book your place click here.

‘Experience and personal growth’ are two major advantages of undertaking a placement. If you are still undecided after this blog why not book an appointment with a Careers Adviser to discuss all of your options.

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