How do student placements work?

How do student placements work?
How do student placements work?

Are you worried about gaining work experience? When you finish university how will you stand out when applying for Graduate roles? I knew how competitive the Graduate market was. This was something I considered in my second year that drove me to apply for a student placement.

I spent my third year on a student placement. I highly recommend a year in Industry. Everyone should consider it! It is your chance to gain some fantastic working experience while you complete your degree.

I spent last year working for Virgin Media. This has been an amazing experience and has given me more opportunities than I could have ever imagined. Day-to-day I have been responsible for coaching off-shore partners in India and the Philippines and taking a communication lead on high scale projects. I have wrote nominations for national awards as well as internal communications to share key-information.

Now I am coming to the end of my student placement I have begun to reflect on the year and really appreciate the fantastic opportunity I have had. I have built knowledge, developed skills and grown into a more confident person. In the second year I was hesitant on whether a placement year was for me. I thought adding another year of study to my degree was delaying my completion of my course. Having now had the experience I can tell you that it is 110% worth it!

Now I am heading into my final year armed with some valuable work experience and with a CV which stands out. One thing that has changed is that now when I apply for graduate roles, I will feel more confident in my skills. I also know I can give strong answers to competency questions when I am asked. Even though grades and study is important, doing a placement helps me show employers that I am able to adjust to the world of work.

Skills I gained during my student placement

Doing the student placement has provided me with the opportunity to develop various skills. Two main skills I have developed are:

  • Communication: my written and spoken communication skills have improved greatly. I am now more confident and comfortable when communicating with people. I work with people from Directors and Heads of Centers to front-line and offshore agents. However before my placement, I wasn’t comfortable talking on the telephone but now it is second nature to me.
  • Team Work: this is an attractive attribute for any employer. A year gaining first-hand experience of contributing to a team dynamic has improved my interpersonal skills.


Student placement


Student placements helped me prepare for life after university

Not only has the work experience helped me to develop a vast array of skills but it has also helped me grow as a person. Now that my placement is nearly over, I am much more confident and mature. Working full time for a year also shows that I can make the adjustment to employment after university.

My tips to anyone applying for student placements

  1. Do your research: if you know you want to do a student placement in your first year, start looking at what options are available early on. I put together a list of companies that offered placements so I knew where I wanted to apply.
  2. Don’t give up: most of the big companies will advertise placements from September – December/January. I applied throughout September and October. Don’t be put down if you are unsuccessful as lots of companies advertise throughout the year.
  3. Be prepared for a long process: I applied for role at Virgin in October 2014 and didn’t receive an offer until March 2015. I had to do an online application form, video interview and an assessment center. This may seem dull but it provides you with good practice for the future.
  4. Enhance your CV: I recommend attending a workshop offered by the university to get feedback on your CV before applying.

My student placement year has been one of the best years of my university life. I have learnt more than I could from just a textbook and in a role I would love to do in the future. A year away from university, plus a disposable income, has allowed me to travel to New York, skiing in France, Las Vegas, LA, the Grand Canyon, Dubai and Mexico!

If you have any questions about my experience or applying for placements, you can contact me on: or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Getting the necessary work experience is important. Salford Business School can help you with student placements, through the services offered at the Employability Hub. You can email them at: