Placement Year

A placement year is a structured work experience opportunity that can be integrated into your studies, giving you a substantial amount of work experience that is recognised within your degree title. Many organisations offer placement opportunities and they are a great way of developing your employability skills whilst getting a flavour of a particular working environment. Placement years generally last between 9-12 months and are often aimed at penultimate year undergraduates.

Why do it?

  • Chance to fast-track to a graduate job
  • Apply your knowledge and skills in a workplace environment
  • Get an insight into the industry you're interested in
  • Develop key skills and competencies sought by recruiters
  • Build up a professional network with contacts in the industry

Register for the Placement Year Programme

Read student stories on our Padlet

The process

1. Explore placements

  • Start your search - roles will start to be advertised in the autumn term. Look at the ‘Placement search’ tab or browse the Padlet for useful links 
  • Discuss work experience options - If you are still exploring options available to you, attend a Careers Drop In Mon - Fri, 11am - 1pm (term-time).

2. Opt in between 1 Sep - 20 Jan

  • Register - Registration is now open. Registration is only for current 2nd year students or 3rd year students on an integrated Masters programme. 
  • Attend a 1:1 appointment – once you have registered you will be contacted with next steps. We advise you make use of the Placement Year appointments to support your search.

Please note - registering does not guarantee you a placement.  If you register and aren't successful at securing a placement, you will continue as normal into your final year of study.  If you miss the registration deadline and have secured a placement role, please email careers-placements@york.ac.uk with the job description attached and we will advise on your options.

 

3. Placement approval

  • Secure a placement - once you have a placement offer please email careers-placements@york.ac.uk. You will be required to complete our approval formYou must have completed this form by 31 May to be considered for the programme.
  • Pre-placement briefing - before you can start your placement you will be required to attend a pre-placement briefing. You will be invited to book onto a briefing session following approval of your placement.
  • Programme transfer - when your placement has been approved we will confirm to you in writing your place on the Placement Year and will allocate you a Placement Supervisor from Careers and Placements. Your department will also keep in touch with you.

My Placement Year has been a great way to kickstart my career and has been my best decision to date! I have gained an insight into a very fast-growing business channel within Amazon and have had some brilliant opportunities – including attending a summit in Prague - Francesca, Finance Intern, Amazon (BSc Economics and Finance)

 

The details

Placement Year

The Placement Year is managed by Careers and Placements and is open to undergraduate and integrated masters students. It offers you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience at a challenging level that will help prepare you for graduate jobs. 

You would take the Placement Year between your 2nd and 3rd year, extending your time at York by one year. Whilst you are on your placement you will retain your student status; benefitting from all the existing support services available to you and receiving recognition of your placement year within your degree title. 

Key features to be aware of: 

  • It is your responsibility to find and secure your own work placement by 31 May of your second year; we will support you through the selection and the approval process
  • Before applying for roles, please read the Placement Criteria in the Handbook. We will need to approve your placement before your department will approve your transfer onto the Placement Year programme

  • During the year you can choose to do one placement of 9-12 months or two shorter placements that total 9-12 months of experience. You will need to undertake a minimum of 9 months work experience over the course of the academic year in order to fulfil the programme requirements, e.g. if your first placement lasts 6 months, you would need to find a second placement of 3 – 6 months duration during the academic year

  •  If you decide to do two shorter placements, the minimum duration of an individual placement is 3 months

  • Your placement should start during the summer vacation of your second year
  • You will be assigned a Supervisor from the Careers and Placements team for the duration of your placement
  • The Placement Year is an assessed, pass/fail, 120 credit module that would be added to your existing programme of study

  • If your placement ends unexpectedly, you will either need to find another placement within the year to achieve a minimum of 9 months experience or alternatively you will be advised to apply for a Leave of Absence for the remainder of the academic year and return to your final year of study as planned. If you don't fulfil the 9 month minimum duration, you would fail the Placement Year but not your degree and you would return to your original programme of study

At York, UK and international placement years are available through either a Department Year In Industry programme or the Placement Year programme within Careers and Placements. There are existing Year In Industry options within some departments so it's worth discussing with your department or the Careers and Placements team to decide what is the best route for you.

Eligibility

  • This programme is open to undergraduate and integrated masters students
  • If your department already offers a Year In Industry option we recommend you explore this option first. If you are in the Environment and Geography Department, Department of Politics or The York Management School you already have a similar placement option available to you through your department’s Year in Industry course
  • Students from Hull York Medical School and Social Work are not eligible for this programme 
  • If you are studying under a Tier 4 visa, please note that there are significant issues relating to your visa which you will need to investigate before you can start any placement. Please consult the University’s Immigration Advice Service before expressing an interest in this Placement Year option.

Deadlines & approval

Placement Year deadlines

  • Start applying for placements in Autumn term of your second year
  • Opt into the Placement Year programme between 1 Sept - 20 January of your second year
  • Secure a placement by 31 May of your second year 
  • Start your placement in the summer vacation of your second year 

Placement approval

Before you are approved onto the programme, we will need to confirm:

  1. That you have secured a placement in line with the Placement Criteria (see Placement Criteria tab)
  2. That you have completed the required Placement Year documentation 
  3. That your placement provider has completed the required documentation 
  4. That you have attended the Pre-Placement Briefing 

You will gain official approval of transfer onto the Placement Year programme once we have confirmed these actions. This approval will be confirmed to you in writing. Careers and Placements reserves the right not to approve a placement and not to recognise a placement as part of the Placement Year option.

Placement search

Search online for advertised roles:

The hidden market:

Meet employers:

Top tips:

  • Understand the application process - There are a variety of recruitment methods, e.g. applications, online tests, assessment centres. Have a look at our online guide  or book an appointment via Careers Gateway
  • Apply early - applications for many placement schemes often open in September and deadlines tend to be between December – February 
  • Understand the language - Placement opportunities may be advertised under a variety of titles; look out for ‘Sandwich Years’,  ‘Industrial Placements’, 'Year In Industry'
  • Skill up - Placements are competitive so make the most of on-campus opportunities to prepare for writing applications and CVs, interviews and assessment centres
  • Speak up - It can get overwhelming when applying for placements, so don’t forget to talk through any concerns you may have with one of our team - email careers-placements@york.ac.uk to make an appointment. 

Criteria

If you are intending to take up the the Placement Year option as part of your studies it is essential that you consult with Careers and Placements as soon as possible.  As well as providing you with assistance to support your search for a suitable placement, Careers and Placements are also responsible for the process of approving any placement opportunities you find. This is to ensure they are suitable for the purposes of undertaking work experience and can receive the formal recognition of the university through the Placement Year option.

The University of York reserves the right to withhold approval of any placement opportunity for the purposes of the the Placement Year option should it have any concerns about the placement, including the viability of the activities anticipated or the suitability of any organisation or individual involved.

The following are important criteria that the university will consider before confirming an opportunity to be suitable for the Placement Year option.   If you find a placement opportunity that interests you please consider these criteria for yourself before coming to discuss them with Careers and Placements.  Some of the criteria will require you to provide supporting materials which are indicated.

1. The placement opportunity must contain elements of challenge commensurate with the acquisition of experiences that could directly contribute to the attainment of a graduate destination.    

Although many placements will contain relatively unskilled tasks at some point, for the majority of the role, you should be operating at a level that will support, with developing skills and experiences, an application for graduate level work or further study. As part of the approval process, you will need to show Careers and Placements evidence that this will be the case. Evidence could include a written job description, a letter or an agreement document signed by the placement provider.  

2. The placement is with an organisation that is legally constituted and operates in line with UK/EU employment legislation or equivalent

Ensure the organisation complies with legislation around issues such as: paying at least the minimum wage; compliance with health and safety legislation; providing adequate time off for annual leave, and provision for sick leave.   The University of York maintains a Code of Conduct for Employers that raises a number of legal and good practice issues that you may wish to consider in relation to the opportunity you are considering.  The code can be accessed at: www.york.ac.uk/about/departments/support-and-admin/careers/employers/

3. The employer organisation should be willing to provide you with a letter of engagement or a contract of employment prior to you starting work for them

If the organisation has no previous experience with these type of documents then the University of York can provide templates.  A copy of the final letter or contract of engagement must be presented to Careers and Placements before the commencement of any placement activity on behalf of the employer.

4. The employer must provide evidence to the university that it has full public and employee liability insurance in force, which provides at least an equivalent degree of cover in respect of you as a student which it provides for the placement employer’s full time employees

The University’s template letter of engagement provides details on the evidence required, normally consisting of the relevant insurance policy numbers.  In some cases, notably when the employer is based entirely overseas, the issue of insurance can be subject to local laws and culture.  In these instances you should consult with Careers and Placements for approval before making any placement commitments.

It should be noted that in  limited circumstances it may be possible to extend university insurance cover to a student on placement. However, this can never be assumed; you will require written confirmation and approval of the placement from Careers and Placements that this is the case, before starting a placement.  

The university will not extend professional indemnity insurance to a placement student on this programme.  If a placement provider requires this form of insurance from you then please inform Careers and Placements for approval of the placement before making any placement commitments.

5. The employer should be able to provide a written policy on health, safety and welfare provision.  The employer should be willing and able to confirm in writing that all relevant statutory duties in respect of health and safety and welfare are being complied with

Careers and Placements can support you in obtaining these written assurances if they do not appear in your letter of engagement or employment contract.

6. No placement opportunity can be approved if it involves the student travelling to a country where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against this

This can be checked at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

7. If a placement opportunity overseas requires you to obtain a work or study visa then this will need to be achieved in advance of the placement starting

The University of York will require a copy of any visa(s) you obtain.

If you are a student studying at York under a Tier 4 visa then you will need to change the terms of your visa in order to take up the the Placement Year option, regardless of where your eventual placement might be located.  You should consult with the university’s Immigration Advice Service to discuss this issue in detail to ensure you are fully informed as to the implications of this option before making any placement commitments.

8. The costs of any visas or other requirements, such as disclosure and barring checks, health screening, etc cannot be met by the university

You should weigh these and other costs, such as travel to interviews, against alternatives before making any firm placement commitments.

9. The employer should be fully aware of your status as a placement student and be willing to afford you the time and opportunities to acquire experiences that can contribute to the learning outcomes of the module (see Assessment section of the Placement Year ).  They should also be willing to interact with representatives of the University of York in their supervision of your placement  

The employer must be willing to offer you the opportunities to learn and develop, and also be aware of the requirement for you to provide a written submission about your time with them for assessment purposes.  If the work of the employer has confidential elements to it then approaches to handling this process are best agreed with the placement provider before taking up the opportunity. Careers and Placements will support you on these queries should they arise.

Assessment

The assessment will be in the form of a 3000 word reflective report with supporting reflective blogs. It will be assessed by Careers and Placements.

Module learning outcomes:

On completion of the Placement Year module, our students will be able to: 

  • Articulate their competencies in a concise manner through consistent reflection of their skill set development over the duration of their placement  

  • Articulate a sense of career direction based on an exploration of their own values, skills and motivations arising from their placement experience

  • Evaluate the fit of their own personal values to the culture and working environment of their placement employer’s organisation 

  • Identify their impact on the placement organisation through a critical analysis of their individual role and the tangible outcomes of their work

  • Confidently reflect on specific experiences obtained over the course of their placement

  • Articulate the value and utility of any transferable skills they feel their degree studies have provided in a work context.

The Placement Year module will be added to the student’s existing programme of study:

Additional programme learning outcome:

On completion of the Placement Year programme, our graduates will be able to:

Apply employability skills and enhanced self-awareness and understanding through reflection on a minimum of 9 months experience in a work-based context. 

Exceptional circumstances 

Students on placement will be expected to comply with the attendance policy of the placement provider, including any illness or compassionate circumstances.   Exceptional circumstances cases that apply to the submission of the reflective work either during or at the end of the placement will be referred to the home Department’s Exceptional Circumstances Affecting Assessment Committee.

Failure to complete assigned placement

There may be instances that arise that mean you cannot complete your placement, which will have implications on you successfully passing the Placement Year module.  Outlined below are possible circumstances that may arise during the year.

If the placement fails through no fault of your own, through the host organisation going into receivership for example, it will not be grounds for appeal through Special Cases.

A placement might fail due to:

Organisation ceases operation

  • If this occurs at the start of your placement, before the commencement of the autumn term you will be able to enrol for your final year

  • If this happens after the start of term and there is time remaining in the academic year to obtain the minimum 9 months work experience, you may decide to look for another placement and we would support you through the selection and the approval process as before

  • The alternative is to apply for a Leave of Absence and return to your final year at the next available opportunity for Undergraduate enrolment.

Dismissal

  • If you are reasonably dismissed from your role it would indicate that you have breached an appropriate code of conduct of the host organisation and will be ineligible for support from Careers and Placements in seeking a further placement through the Placement Year programme. You would be advised to apply for a Leave of Absence and return to your final year at the next available opportunity for undergraduate enrolment.

Ill-health/exceptional circumstances 

  • If you experience circumstances that require you to miss more than 20 days of placement, you would be advised to take a Leave of Absence for the remaining time to recover and then re-enter for your final year

  • The Placement Supervisor or home Department Supervisor, if preferred, would support you through the Leave of Absence process. The Leave of Absence would be signed off by the home Department Board of Studies and  a decision would be made around your ability to rejoin or restart the Placement Year based on individual circumstances.

FAQs

See financial information on placements to see how going on a placement affects your tuition fees, Maintenance Loan, bursaries, and more.

What salary can I expect to get for a year placement?

Salaries do vary, however locally, placement year salaries are often between £14K - £18K. More specialist, technical roles often offer a higher salary. Salaries for roles in and around London also vary, however they tend to start at £19K. Please note National Minimum Wage is £7.70 per hour (Ages 21 - 24)

Can I undertake unpaid placements?

If you are considering an unpaid placement, please contact careers-placements@york.ac.uk to discuss the role in more detail. 

Who will pay me when I’m on placement?

Payment arrangements will be agreed between you and your placement provider directly.

If I work in London will my salary cover living costs?

It’s worth noting that if you apply for a placement in London, living and travel costs can be high and minimum wage may not always cover these costs, therefore we recommend you think carefully about your finances if looking to work in London.

If you are working in London in an area which is covered by TFL you can apply for discounted travel. You save 30% on the adult-rate. See TFL pages for full details. Ask the Placements Team for a placement confirmation letter to support your application.
 
Will there be funding available for international placements? 
 
There could be funding available for international placements years, therefore we advise you talk to the Centre For Global Programmes to see what options are available: email global-programmes@york.ac.uk.
 
Can I book accommodation on campus during my Placement Year?
 
You're able to book a room on campus to live in during your placement year. You can cancel the booking if you are successful in obtaining a placement away from York. The booking system opens in Autumn Term, and we recommend you book earlier to take advantage of a wider range of room choice.

When would I need to cancel my booking by?

If you're successful in getting a placement outside a reasonable commuting distance of York, and can provide evidence of your placement, you have up to the second week of July to cancel your booking. If you don't tell us that you want to cancel your booking, you will still be committed for the full let period of your room.

Can I book accommodation on campus when I return from my Placement Year?

You will be able to book a room on campus for the year you return, when you are on your Placement Year - we will open our booking system during Autumn Term, and you can see more information online.

Who will pay for travel costs to and from my placement?

Employers are not expected to pay for your travel, so you will generally be expected to fund this yourself. You will be need to discuss reimbursements for travel with your placement provider. 

Will I get reimbursed for traveling to interviews?

This varies depending on the employer so it’s best to ask them in advance of the interview. The University will not be able to contribute to any travel costs.

What welfare support do I get from the university during my placement?

During the Placement Year you will be assigned a Placement Supervisor from Careers and Placements who will be your main point of contact for any issues during the year. Your department will also keep in touch and are on hand to support with ongoing academic queries. 

You will retain your student status and therefore can benefit from the existing welfare provision such as Open Door, etc. Full details of support can be found online here.

Should I disclose my disability?

If you would like to discuss how and when to disclose your disability, book a Careers Advice appointment through Careers Gateway. There is a helpful section on disclosure on the Targetjobs website and we run a termly workshop on disclosing your disability. More info can be found in the Applying for jobs tab on our page for students with disabilities.

What if I want to withdraw from the placement during the Placement Year?

If you are unhappy in your role, or your placement ends unexpectedly, you will either need to find another placement within the year to achieve a minimum of 9 months experience or alternatively you will be advised to apply for a Leave of Absence for the remainder of the academic year and return to your final year of study as planned. If you don't fulfil the 9 month minimum duration, you would fail the Placement Year but not your degree and you would return to your original programme of study.

Contact details

Careers and Placements

Tel: 01904 324240

@UoYCareers