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 while getting a flavour of a particular working environment. Placement years generally last between 9-12 months and are often aimed at penultimate year undergraduates.
Please note - registering does not guarantee you a placement. If you register and do not secure 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 email@example.com with the job description attached and we will advise on your options.
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 in your penultimate year of study, extending your time at York by one year. While you are on your placement you will retain your student status; benefiting 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:
Before applying for roles, please read the Placement Criteria. 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, eg if your first placement lasts 6 months, you would need to find a second placement of 3 – 6 months duration during the academic year
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.
Before you are approved onto the programme, we will need to confirm:
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.
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 Student 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can I undertake unpaid placements?
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.
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 until early 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 travelling 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 on Handshake. 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.