In the modern world graduate numbers and rates are skyrocketing. Graduate jobs are becoming much more competitive than they were before. Therefore, many companies are placing much more emphasis on experience in the professional world rather than degrees alone. It is for this reason that some students may choose to do a placement year. A placement year is a year extended to your degree so that you can apply your course knowledge to an actual job.
Most placement years will replace the third year of an undergraduate course and extend the degree to four years. However, you may wish to do a placement year after you graduate. This is often the case for recently graduated students who have not received job offers. Fortunately, you are able to do a placement year after graduation. Some even consider a placement after graduation as the first step of your career.
Whether you do a placement year after or during your undergraduate degree does not make too much of a difference. Placement years are a great way to showcase your professional experience to future employers. Read on to find out what the process of undertaking a placement will be like and if a placement year is the right choice for you.
How to apply for a placement year after graduation?
As you have graduated you will most likely be arranging and applying for your own placement rather than the university assisting you. It is best to do your own research as different industries and companies will have their own way of doing things. This article will provide a brief overview of how the process usually goes.
Most companies will require you to first complete an initial application as well as your CV. Then you may be asked to complete an online assessment. These can be similar to IQ tests with numerical aspects or can be situation based and related to the industry or job. Once you pass these steps you will normally have to go through a series of interviews and activities before they consider offering you the placement. This is definitely not an easy process and often tends to be quite competitive.
However, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of getting selected. The most important step to succeeding is being prepared.
Many companies will start advertising their placements from September onwards and sometimes earlier. It is not uncommon for bigger companies to close their applications earlier than expected if there are too many applicants.
To help you get started, check out Rate My Placement to find a placement year program that suits you.
What is the difference between an internship and work placement?
Most students are familiar with the term internship and will have some understanding of the term work placement. However, you may be confused by what the two actually entail. Whilst both do provide you with a competitive advantage, they are both very different.
The main difference is the length taken to completion. An internship could potentially last from anywhere between four weeks and four months. In some rare cases, even a year. They are often undertaken during holidays and are usually unpaid. The purpose of an internship is to give you your first glimpse into the working world. You will be treated more like an employee of the company rather than just assisting or shadowing someone.
Of course, securing an internship is also very difficult. Many students find Bright Network a great tool to find industry specific internship opportunities. To find out more about internships check out this Think Student article.
In contrast, a work placement is much more work-intensive and lasts much longer. Whilst an internship is usually used to assess whether a field or job is good for you, a placement is generally taken by students who are firm on what career path they want to go down. It is more similar to a first job rather than an insight.
A large reason for students choosing to do a placement year rather than an internship is the pay. Most people doing a placement year will be compensated with a salary, similarly to an actual employee. In the UK, as of 2022, you will find that the average salary for placement year students is £19,158. This makes a placement year a much better option after graduation than an internship.
For a more thorough explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of work placements, check out this article from Think Student.
Remember, both internships and work placements are excellent ways to demonstrate experience. Regardless of which you choose, make the most of it and use it to your advantage.