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All you need to know about placements

When you come to university, you don’t just come to get a degree: you want experience to help your future career.

Having relevant work experience can help you in your career – which is why we offer a work placement opportunity to all our undergraduate students.

Some of our courses include mandatory placements, while on others they are optional. Mandatory placements vary in length from two to 30 weeks – a full academic year. Shorter work placements are typically designed to fit around your modules of study. 

We have an extensive network of contacts across many industries. The following is a small selection of the companies who have taken our students on placement in the past – you can find out about employers specific to your area of interest on our individual course pages.

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Why are placements important?

We believe a degree should equip you with the skills you need to jump straight into your chosen profession, which is why we place an emphasis on practical learning. This begins from day one, so you’ll have the skills you need to make an immediate impact when you start your placement. This is something that employers tell us they are consistently impressed with when they take on BU students for work placements.

The Graduate Market in 2017 by High Fliers Research showed that over a third of recruiters who took part in the research repeated their warnings from previous years – that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.

In the increasingly competitive graduate jobs market having relevant work experience on your CV – as well as a degree and extra-curricular activities – is central to making sure you stand out from the competition.

How does a placement benefit me?

There’s nothing quite like seeing how what you’ve learned at university can be applied to the real world, whether you’re studying an accountancy degree, aiming for a career in PR or training in forensic science.

A work placement gives you the opportunity to put those skills into practice and to learn from experienced professionals. It also gives you a valuable insight into what it’s like to work in industry, and may even open your eyes to a career path hadn’t considered before.

Your placement is a fantastic opportunity to network and, if you impress during your work experience, you may even find you have a job waiting for you when you graduate. Many of our graduates have been offered permanent roles with their placement firms – a testament to the skills and work ethic our students possess.

Where will my placement be?

We’ll help you find you the most appropriate work placement for the subject you’re studying and the career you’re interested in, which means you could be based anywhere in the UK, or even overseas, during your placement. You’ll be given plenty of information about all of your placement options once you start your course.

Will I have to pay tuition fees during my placement year?

If you undertake a 30-week placement, you do still have to pay tuition fees during the year, but they are considerably lower than for the taught years of your degree. For students joining us in 2018, the fee is £815 for your placement year.

This fee allows your Placement Team to provide you with support throughout your placement. They will be in contact with you while you are on your placement to make sure you are happy and that everything is running smoothly.

You will also still have access to all of the university's online and on-campus facilities while you are working, ensuring you're able to do any preparation you need to do ahead of your final year of study.

Will I be paid on my placement?

The Placement Teams do their best to help students find paid work placements, but this isn’t always possible. They encourage all the employers they work with to provide at least a minimum wage to our students (currently £5.60/hour for those aged 18-20, £7.05/hour for 21-24-year-olds, and £7.50/hour for anyone 25 and over).  From April 2018 this will increase to £5.90/hour for those aged 18-20, £7.38/Hour for 21-24 and £7.83 for anyone 25 and over.

You may also be eligible for financial support during your placement year.