This information is for students who are currently on their placement year and offers useful tips, advice and resources to help you navigate the months ahead.
- Starting your placement year is exciting, but it can also be exhausting, especially at the start of your placement, when you transition from full-time study to full time work. You may not be used to working longer hours for fixed periods, so it is vital to ensure that you have a good work/life balance. For some tips, please see tips on the Mental Health Foundation website.
- Time management, organisation and communication are important skills when managing your placement year. Your placement provider may offer support through their HR and Learning and Development function. In addition, please do take advantage of your free subscription to LinkedIn Learning where there are some brilliant courses available to help you navigate workplace skills in general.
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- Many placement year students have a ‘wobble’ in the first few weeks and months of starting their contract. Around this time, we are likely to receive more queries about students wishing to return to university and converting to a 3-year version of their course. Please be reassured that it is not uncommon to feel like this in the early days of your placement. Remember that you might not quite have settled into your new role yet, have made established relationships or found your feet and this may take a little longer than you expected.
- You might also be feeling homesick and missing your friends. If you are feeling like this, please reach out to your line manager initially to see if your organisation can provide some support. If you feel you would like help in navigating some of your challenges, please contact your Placement Tutor or Placement Coordinator. Most students tell us that it is definitely worth giving yourself more time to settle in and adjust, before making any bold decisions about leaving your placement. Check out our student testimonials to keep you motivated.
Health, wellbeing and welfare during your placement year
- If you become seriously unwell or develop a new health condition or disability diagnosis that you did not have before you started your placement year, please let us know so that we can support you in making any necessary adjustments with your placement provider. All information will be treated in confidence and will not be shared without your permission. If you have a disability that is impacting your work life, and you would like some helpful information and advice EmployAbility, who are one of our trusted university partners, have some great information on their website.
- If you are struggling with your mental health during your placement year, please let us know so that we can help you. Your information will not be shared with others, without your permission. We can support you by organising a remote or in-person meeting and may suggest a referral to our Student Wellbeing Services. If you already receive support from one of the services within this team, please let them know that you will be away on placement, and they will let you know what support they’ll be able to provide remotely if you are not local to the University. There is also range of services available to you if you need emergency or urgent support.
- We have also created a Placement Care Card for students, so that you have access to your key contacts at the university, should you need them.
- If you are struggling with your finances during your placement year, please look at our online resources and get in touch with the Student Financial Support Team.
- The university tries not to contact you too much during your first few weeks on placement, to allow time for you to settle in, get used to working life, your new colleagues and to encourage independence, but if you feel that you need our help in those first few weeks, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Placement Tutor or Coordinator (or both!)
- If you believe you are not receiving appropriate support, training or supervision, during your placement, please raise this with your HR department in the first instance, if you feel you can. Similarly, HR should be able to help if you are struggling with working relationships, workload management or if you are subjected to any discrimination or harassment. If you are not satisfied with the support from your placement provider, please contact your Placement Tutor and Placement Coordinator immediately.
- Your Placement Tutor or Academic Tutor will visit you during your placement year and this may be a virtual or in-person meeting. This meeting is an opportunity to share your progress on placement and also to share any concerns you may have. Your Placement Tutor will also meet with your line manager / supervisor (usually with you present) so if you want to raise any concerns prior to that meeting, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with them to organise a chat before the visit.
- If you feel you need any additional visits during your placement year, please speak directly with your Placement Tutor
Travel during your placement year
- If your placement is overseas, or you are travelling during your placement, you have access to the University’s Travel and Medical Insurance.
- If you need help, or wish to make a claim, contact AIG Insurance – Lifeline Plus. Please always use the university policy number: 0010016165. You can access the services via the AIG mobile app on the travel assistance website or call the AIG assistance helpline on 0127 345 6463.
- Email the University’s Insurance Office if you have any questions, or call them on 0118 378 8309
- Please complete the Student Risk Management Form on RISIS as soon as you have confirmed your travel arrangements.
Living and working in London
- If you are living and working in London during your placement year, you may be eligible for an 18+ oyster card. For more information, please visit the Transport for London website. For your application to be approved, the university must verify your student status, so please visit the Student Services Helpdesk in the Carrington Building on the ground floor, for further information.
Absence, attendance and conduct during your placement
- It is important that you let your placement provider know if you are unable to attend work for any reason during your placement year so that your absence is accounted for, as they are responsible for your duty of care. Please ensure that you understand your employer’s sickness and absence policy and process. Unauthorised absences can cause great concern for your welfare and your placement provider will be asked to report these immediately to the university as a matter of concern for us to investigate further.
- This also applies if you are late for work, including being caught in traffic or delays to your usual start time. Regular lateness for work can trigger disciplinary action resulting in a dismissal unless you have a particular agreement with your placement provider.
- If you have regular absences from work over your allocated annual leave allowance, this may also impact your ability to fulfil your placement learning outcomes and complete your placement assessment/s. Please notify us if you are concerned about this at all.
- Please read your student contract and the student charter before you start your placement and maintain professional values and behaviours on placement at all times, as you are representing not only yourself, but also the university, and your conduct could have an impact on any future placements within your organisation. Please also remember to treat your employer and colleagues with respect, tolerance and courtesy, regardless of identity, background or belief, both in person and online.
- All students are asked to complete placement assessments as a formative and summative part of their placement learning. Placement assessments measure how you’ve reached the expected learning outcomes of your placement year and could include a portfolio, report, presentation or poster or a combination. These assessments, along with other factors (such as placement attendance, feedback and reports) will generate a pass or fail mark, and do not impact on your degree classification. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Placement Tutor, check your placement handbook or Blackboard organisation in the first instance. Alternatively, find the module description for your placement year under the respective year and subject on the University website, where the assessment and learning outcomes for your placements are outlined in the module description form for your placement year programme.
- You will also have some annual leave allocation during your placement year (usually around 20 days (not including public holidays). This time should be for rest and relaxation; however, you might want to keep a few of these days aside to look over your placement assessments in advance of your return.
Returning to university after your placement year
- It can sometimes be challenging to adjust back to university life, after being on placement for a year. Your Academic Tutor and Placement Tutor will remain in touch during the placement year, updating you on any changes to your course, dissertations and module selections, and a placement returners session will be organised by your department for your first weeks back to university life. If you feel you need any specific study support before you return, you can use the online resources available to you through our Study Advice Team or contact them for an online appointment.
Practical tips (including preparing for your return to university, resits, accommodation, and other useful information)
- Please remember that you will need to re-enrol at the start of term just as you would if you are returning to university – this is so we can update your student record and confirm your mode of study (at a distance).
- Please be aware that if you need to undertake resits during your placement year, that you’ll need to arrange time off (through annual leave) with your placement provider – and this may include a little extra time to revise. If you fail your exams at a second attempt, then you will be responsible for informing your placement provider, but we will help you with this.
- If you have a student visa, you will need to check your university emails and respond to our monitoring requests on a monthly basis, with any absences you might have had. This is a vital aspect of our Home Office reporting requirements and may impact your student visa if you do not respond.
- If you are planning to change roles, department or location during your placement, you must let your Placement Tutor and Placement Coordinator know immediately beforehand.
- If you have any concerns about your accommodation during your placement year, please speak to one of our Housing Advisors in RSU who will be able to offer some general and practical advice.
- If you are worrying about arranging accommodation for your final year, please head to the Return to Halls page on Essentials. Please be aware that there are a limited number of spaces in halls for returning students so it is important to get in touch sooner rather than later to express an interest in halls for your returning year (by late October of the previous year at the latest).
- If you would like some more tips and advice on managing your placement year, please check out our central placement year handbook – which provides information in addition to any school-based placement handbook and information available to you.
If you have any other questions about your placement year, please contact The Placements Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your Placement Tutor or Placement Coordinator.