What support is on offer to placement students?

Placement tutor

Our department has an academic placement tutor, Dr Cindy Becker, who has many years' experience in supporting students on academic placement. Dr Becker is usually the first contact for students who are thinking about undertaking a placement, and she works alongside students, their seminar leaders and module convenors to ensure that a placement is successful.

Placement secretary

Our dedicated placement secretary, Mrs Karen Jackson, undertakes the administration of academic placements but, as importantly, she supports students as they prepare for placement, answering questions about how the system works.

Module convenor

Module convenors provide examples of academic placements which might suit their modules so that students get a good sense of how the learning on the module might be adapted to life away from the seminar or lecture room. In addition, convenors work with individual students, usually towards the final stages of crafting a placement. All academic placements must be approved by the module convenor of the module within which they fall.

Seminar leader

For students in their second year, their seminar leader on a module is often the person they see most and would feel comfortable talking to about the possibility of an academic placement. This works well and we encourage our students to talk to any of us about how an academic placement might work for them.

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor will be happy to talk about the option of an academic placement with you, either at one of your regular meetings or at an additionally scheduled meeting.

Careers Service

The Careers Service has invaluable experience in preparing students in terms of creating a successful CV or preparing for interview. Although many of our academic placements are arranged without either of these requirements, we are pleased to have a placement officer from the Careers Service, Ms Claire Jones, on hand to support academic placement students. This is particularly the case when students are trying to find a suitable placement, as Ms Jones has worked for many years in the Careers Service and has a wealth of knowledge to share.

Drop in sessions

Twice a week, Dr Becker runs drop-in sessions for students at all stages of their placement path. All sorts of topics come up at these sessions, such as:

  • Students simply wanting to know more about how the system works.
  • Students in their first year wanting to get an early start in thinking about placements.
  • Students who think they might have 'missed the boat' but who want to know if they can arrange a placement in their final year.
  • For those who are further on in the process, Dr Becker is there to offer ideas on the details of a placement. Students often share ideas with each other, too, so it works well as a placement networking space.
  • Students often bring along draft emails to potential placement providers so that they can work on them together with Dr Becker.
  • Students sometimes want to go through the detail of how they can best approach a particular placement provider.
  • Students wanting to talk through how they can maximise the benefits of a placement in terms of their career planning.
  • Sometimes a vague idea about a placement niggles away at a student, who then comes along to try to tie it down and shape the idea into a viable academic placement.
  • Students who are soon to go on placement like the reassurance of dropping in to check that they have done everything necessary before they begin.

Mentoring

We believe it is important to support our students on placement as fully as possible. We know from experience that even minor queries (what should I wear on my first day? How do I sign off on a professional email?) can distract a student from the purpose of the placement. With this in mind, each student on placement has Dr Becker's mobile number, which can be used outside office hours. In addition, both student and placement provider are contacted by Dr Becker during the placement so as to ensure that things are running smoothly.

Asking our students to undertake an academic placement requires us to offer solid support as they work towards their placement report. As ideas develop, or their focus changes, email support is always available from the placement tutor and/or the module convenor whilst the student is on placement and after the event.

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