Considering a placement year as part of your degree, but not sure whether it’s worth it? Meet Ali Siaf Qadar, a current undergraduate Accounting and Finance student at the University of Salford Business School, who is completing his placement year with the Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

Ali Siaf Qadar and his colleague at Manchester NHS FT, Olivia Vizard.
Ali Siaf Qadar and his colleague at Manchester NHS FT, Olivia Vizard.

“I applied for a placement year as I already had some experience working in the finance sector with Mariott,” explains Ali. “However, I am considering moving into the public sector when I graduate, so I wanted to get some experience in this field, which is why the NHS Foundation Trust was perfect for me.”

Ali’s placement has seen him rotate ­­­­across teams with the Trust, which has given him experience in a number of different roles during his placement. So far, he’s found it insightful and interesting, as well as a chance to apply theoretical learning from the classroom into a real world setting.

“Employability is a huge driver for me: I want to have the very best chance of getting a graduate role once I finish studying,” says Ali. “Doing a placement has given me an insight into financial accountancy and management, in a way which I just wouldn’t get by only studying in the classroom. The way I see it, you’re going to go into the world of work when you graduate, so there’s no harm in extending your studies to include a placement year and get that experience before you go to look for full time roles.”

Ali has learned invaluable time management skills and the art of working to deadlines whilst on his placement: skills which will be essential for his final year of University.

Fateha Shaheen, Academic Supervisor for Ali Siaf Qadar, explains: “There is a real difference in the students who have come back from a placement, compared to those who do not do a year in industry. Not only does it help with their confidence, it also teaches students essential skills which make them more attractive to employers, and boost their exam results too. In fact, the majority of our students who take on a placement year end up with a First Class degree when it comes to graduation.”

Olivia Vizard, Central Services Officer at Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, is Ali’s current co-worker before he rotates to a new team in April.

“Having been an accounting and finance placement student myself, I know that doing a placement can be challenging at first, but ultimately so rewarding,” Olivia says. “Ali has a great work ethic, and takes his time to work out the solutions to problems, something we really value at the Trust.”

“I’d really recommend to anyone that they do a placement year: I graduated in 2021 and secured my role following a placement year, which is not uncommon. You gain really valuable experience, and have the opportunity to earn while you learn, which is always a bonus!”

So, what’s next for Ali?

“I’m hoping to take a Chartered Accountancy qualification once I’ve graduated, although my focus currently is on completing my placement and finishing my studies at Salford. I joined the University following some recommendations from my family, and I’ve certainly not been disappointed!”

If you’re considering studying Accounting and Finance, you could benefit from a placement year with a reputable industry partner like the Manchester NHS Foundation Trust. Placement years are open to everyone studying undergraduate Accounting and Finance, and a placement is taken between your second and third year of study.