Applied professional diploma

Applied professional diploma

Introducing the Applied Professional Diploma 

A work placement year is transformative and deserves recognition and reward. This will provide you with structure and inspiration to consolidate and articulate the impact of your work placement year so you stand out as a Graduate. Research conducted by ASET, the Association of Sandwich Education and Training & HESA Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that students who undertake a work placement year were more likely to achieve better grades, are more likely to gain graduate employment and received higher salaries. Yet, making the most of a work placement year can be tricky. 

We have therefore developed the Applied Professional Diploma for students undertaking a sandwich placement from the academic year 2020/21 onwards.

This award will be tailored to fit your current and future career ambitions as you have personal choice over the type of placement you undertake. Today’s employers do not just want subject knowledge from graduates. They want more. They want graduates who are confident, creative and resilient. What better way to evidence you are a self-starter and can act under conditions of uncertainty with a future mind-set than through a successful work placement year. It will boost your awareness of how to apply course knowledge, skills and understanding from university and transfer this into the workplace and onto future graduate employment. 

You will work with your employer(s), a designated Placement Academic Adviser (or the equivalent academic supervising your placement) and an Employability Adviser to build a portfolio, evidencing your ambition, progress against performance and impactful reflections. You will exploit your new and growing network while gaining real-life, practical experience in your chosen industry and know how to ‘sell’ this to future employers. 

So, if you’re looking for a personalised award that will give you an edge, a significant graduate profile and the opportunity to apply course knowledge, skills and attributes – this is it. 

This award has 5 variations to enable you to fully tailor your experience, we call these placement "settings". The setting you choose will determine the type of Applied Professional Diploma you receive in your final year, upon successful completion of the Placement Year.  

Applied Professional Diploma Settings 

The setting you choose will determine the type of Applied Professional Diploma you receive in your final year, upon successful completion of the Placement Year.

Image defining placements settings: research consultancy, enterprise, consultancy, international and industry

Research Consultancy 

During your work placement year you will engage in research consultancy focused experience exploring/ examining/investigating/advising/ leading an area of inquiry or problem in an attempt to support the creation of new knowledge or resolve a given challenge. 


Your work placement year will involve working in environments such as community societies, public or third sector organisations. This will result in civic engagement and, or civic participation with public values at the heart of the activity: evidencing making change or a difference within the community. 


You will enhance your capacity to take the initiative in generating ideas and develop the behaviours attributes and skills to make things happen. You will work either within an existing company /organisation or in a self-employed capacity, with the aim of turning your idea(s) into viable and sustainable business ventures. 


Your work placement year will involve working through international lenses in a different culture, environment and society. You will exploring the different philosophies, people and expectations around the globe and will expand your horizons beyond that of the UK. 


Your work placement year will involve working in a relevant industry, building meaningful sector relevant skills, knowledge and attributes. You will immerse yourself in this sector diligently leading to significant professional expertise.

Award Design

This award is delivered in partnership with one or more employers to provide a meaningful work placement year related to your career aspirations. We encourage a collaborative approach to learning between you, your employer and the university via a personalised co-designed programme of activities aiming to meet everyone’s needs. This will concentrate on the evolution of knowledge, skills, graduate attributes in connection with the business/employer ambitions and will include a feedforward action planning element to coincide with the 3 virtual touch points between you, your employer and your Placement Academic Adviser (or equivalent).  

Award aims

Identify and review accumulated learning from your course and placement year demonstrating knowledge, skills and attributes aligned to your subject area within your Synoptic Portfolio. 

Review the impact and interconnectivity of your placement year on the breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding of your subject area. 

Generate and practice subject relevant skills, knowledge and attributes within your placement setting. 

Appraise progress and learning in relation to future employability aspirations and explain how this accumulative learning can be used to support future academic and employability ambitions.  


You will complete a Synoptic Portfolio which will encourage you to combine elements of learning from your course together with the placement to show your accumulated knowledge and understanding of the subject area. This will enable you to demonstrate your ability to integrate and apply your skills knowledge and understanding along with the breadth and depth of the subject. This is tailored to every course to ensure it is relevant to your degree and graduate employment. Please see your Placement Academic Adviser (or equivalent) for your portfolio requirements.