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Professional work placements are absolutely central to the BU ethos. We see them as a valuable and integral component of your learning experience and a key part of your degree programme, particularly because our courses are geared to professions and so involve significant components of practical and professional knowledge and skills development.

Find out more

What is the aim of the placement?

Placements enable you to acquire practical experience by applying the knowledge you have gained on your course. They develop personal and interpersonal skills, communication, numeracy, problem solving, values, and personal integrity, as well as building a positive attitude towards change and an understanding of the world of work.

What type of work can I do?

The work should offer you the opportunity to develop your own skills and put the theoretical learning from your degree into practice in the workplace. You may also have some coursework to complete during your placement. Ideally the role should provide an increase in responsibility as the placement year progresses.

Will you find a placement for me?

Placement opportunities are advertised on our dedicated placement intranet site, MyCareerHub, which is available to all students. You can search and apply for these opportunities directly, but will be able to access advice on how to apply from our Placement Coordinators. The employer then conducts interviews and selects the right student for the position.

You may also find your own placement through your own contacts or searches. All placements must be approved for suitability before you are allowed to start.

The Placement Coordinators will supply information and documentation for students and employers on issues such as health and safety, letters of reference and permissions as needed.

What if I can’t find a placement?

This depends on your course. Speak to the Placement Coordinators in your faculty and/or your Programme Administrator. It is important that you keep in regular contact for advice and guidance.

What are the timescales involved?

Undergraduate students can begin their placement as soon as their second-year examinations have finished (late-May/early-June). All undergraduate placements must finish no later than September of the following year in readiness for your degree course starting again in the October. 

Please speak to your Faculty Placement Coordinators for specific deadlines associated with your course.

Can I work abroad?

Yes, you can work overseas and can apply for funding towards this via the Erasmus+ scheme, if in the EU. This funding cannot be guaranteed, however.

Do international students need work permits to be employed in the UK?

No. According to guidance issued by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, so long as students are registered on a valid sandwich degree, which includes a placement year, you do not require a work permit to be employed in the UK.

However, students must hold a valid student visa for the duration of the placement and must not seek full-time permanent employment which is outside the placement year.

Students can, however, work full-time during the placement year although you will be required to report any non-attendance on placement as you would with any other member of staff on a visa. Our Placement Coordinators can provide specific guidance on this.

How do I pass the placement year?

You pass by successfully completing the relevant number of weeks and submitting any coursework on time.

What will the employers responsibility be on my placement?

The employer is the one who will issue your contract and you will be bound by its conditions in the same way as any normal employee.

Do I get paid?

During the placement year you are an employee of the hiring organisation. You are expected to work the same hours as other staff and are paid a salary. In general, placement students offer good value for money, but we expect you to be paid a wage that is appropriate for your contribution to the organisation.

The majority of our placements in the UK are paid, with an average salary ranging upwards of £14,000 per year dependent on location and industry, degree of responsibility and hours worked. However, for some charity organisations or voluntary work, it is possible that you may be provided with reimbursement of travelling costs (and lunch vouchers) if a full salary is not available. The actual amount is a matter for negotiation between you and your employer.

You need to be realistic about what is on offer and what your expenditure will be. While we offer some assistance in times of hardship to some students, this is not something that is guaranteed. You have to pay a percentage of your university fees to retain your student status and have contact with your tutor/department as well as managing your living expenses.

How much supervision will I need?

We recommend that the employer provides a certain level of supervision. This should include an initial induction, as well as training and monitoring. Ideally, you should be given regular reviews/appraisals, staff development and even mentoring.

What support will I have from BU in my workplace?

In order to support your learning during your placements we have a team of staff called Placement Development Advisors (PDAs) who are dedicated to providing a high standard of professional support, not only to the students themselves, but also to their employers and direct line managers. They usually visit you and will be on hand to provide assistance at other times too. They ensure the placement is smooth running, attend to any queries, try to resolve any problems and provide pastoral care as required.

Why do I need to pay fees?

On-going registration as a student allows access to the following:

  • Your student loan and financial support (including maintenance grant) from SFE
  • Academic support for any on-going assessment and for dissertation planning for when you return to study
  • Placement visits and support and any mid-placement options seminar activity
  • Library facilities including all online databases and resources and reciprocal arrangements with other HEIs where they apply
  • Online careers resources through MyCareerHub
  • IT support through the online helpdesk
  • Personal support through AskBU, student wellbeing and chaplaincy (by phone as well as in person)
  • Careers advice and guidance
  • Financial advice and support from the student financial support team
  • Immigration and visa support (if applicable)
  • Disability support (if applicable)
  • University sports and music facilities, including ongoing membership of any clubs and societies
  • Access to all SUBU facilities including their clubs and societies and support from SUBU Advice
  • Eligibility for a Totum (formerly NUS Extra) card offering student discounts (on payment of the appropriate fee to NUS).

What is the placement fee?

While it has always been the case for overseas students, since 1998/99 UK and EU students attending HND or degree courses have been required to contribute to their tuition fees for each of their programmes. This includes the placement year. No additional money is gained by the university through this fee structure.

How much is the placement fee?

The fee for the placement year is set by the government to a maximum of one half the normal tuition fees for UK/EU students. However, BU has decided the placement fee for 2016/17 will be frozen at £685 for UK/EU students and £1,500 for overseas/CI/IOM students. Most UK/EU students are also entitled to apply for a tuition fee loan for their placement year. Channel Island and Isle of Man students should contact their island education authority.

How will it be collected?

You will be invited by letter to re-register and pay your placement fee from the middle of August. If you are a UK/EU student you may pay online (by debit or credit card), by cash or cheque, or by selecting ‘Tuition Fee Loan’ payment option, but if selecting this option you must re-apply for a tuition fee loan via the Student Loans Company or online via Student Finance England. We suggest that you apply as early as possible for the tuition fee loan.

Who pays the placement fee?

As with the other years of your course, you are responsible for paying the fee. However, you may find that your placement employer is willing to pay the fee for you. You should seek guidance from the Placement Office in your faculty on how to approach employers about this when you are seeking a placement.

Short placements

We offer short as well as sandwich placements and also project-specific placements. The timings of these vary but are often over the summer months.