All types of work experience need you to be prepared for what awaits you on day 1. When you have secured your placement, you have completed the mandatory Health & Safety: Professional Preparation for your Placement module and your placement has been approved you’re ready to start thinking about the practicalities. Follow the list below to make that as smooth as possible.
Contact your line manager and set goals
At the beginning of your placement, you should set goals and objectives with your line manager. These will be part of their business objectives and wherever possible, they should help you to achieve your intended learning outcomes (look for these in your module guide, or Placement Blackboard site). If you get the chance to set your goals in advance, do it and check in with your academic too so you’re all in agreement.
Contact your academic and check your goals
Like the above, you’ll be supported by an academic from your module team (for short placements) or your course team (for sandwich placements). Make sure you know who this will be before you start your placement and ask any questions up front. They might be busy teaching or on leave if your placement starts over the summer break, so plan ahead and ask who to contact in their absence.
Check your deadlines
If you’re going on a sandwich placement that includes the Applied Professional Diploma, make sure you know what you need to do and by when. Find out more on your Placement Blackboard site, or contact your academic.
If you’re going on a placement as part of a work experience module, your Module Blackboard site will have details of any work you need to complete.
Talk to a Placement Rep
For sandwich placements, you can get help from our Placement Reps, and for other types of work experience, your module tutor might be able to put you in touch with someone who did the same placement last year. They all started where you are now, so don’t miss out on their tips and insights – they could save you a lot of time!
Sort out your life admin! (For longer placements, e.g. Sandwich placements)
If you’re relocating for placement, here’s a list of things to check-off on your list of things to do:
- Update My Student Record with your new address/contact details
- Change your GP / Dental Practice to one local to your new address if you’re staying in the UK. More information can be found on the NHS Find a GP website.
- Change the address on your driver's licence and make sure you’re insured for commuting if you’re using your car to travel to work
- Change the address & occupation on any insurance documents
- Register with the local council where you may be required to pay council tax – find out more about council tax exemptions on our Managing your money page
- Buy home insurance for your new address
- Buy insurance for your personal possessions if you’re going on an international placement and make sure you’ve got a copy of your travel insurance documentation if you applied for the University’s Emergency Assistance cover
- Students with a Student Visa and other students may be required to register with local police force. Find out more on gov.uk for guidance
- Check your annual leave entitlements and plan your leave in with your line manager
- Check you know what to do if you’re too ill to work and how to report sickness absences and what your entitlements are – find out more on our Need help with your contract page.
Can I still go on placement if I have outstanding retakes and reassessment to complete?
We don’t stop students from going on placement if they have failed modules or assessments – however, it is important to speak to your Academic Administration team, Academic Adviser, and Student Support Adviser to work out whether or not it is the best thing for you to do and whether it will adversely affect your placement year and overall wellbeing by doing so.
If you have outstanding reassessment (exams/hand-ins/coursework) to do on a module, you can complete and submit this alongside your placement year.
You are allowed to retake failed modules during placement. There are, however, practical issues to take into account which might prevent you from doing so. It is expected that students attend all teaching. You would need to discuss with your employer whether they would release you to engage with attending all classes – as a result, it is very rare that this is possible as you would still need to complete the minimum hours per week on placement.
Progression rules allow some outstanding credit to be carried from level 5 into level 6 which you can consider, but if you have failed modules above the progression limit (20 credit fail plus 20 credit reassessment, or up to 40 credit reassessment) and are required to retake them (going onto campus to engage in study). You can still go on placement, but you would need to pick up the remaining modules after your placement and before you are able to proceed to final year.
This also means you may have to extend your period of study and this may have fee implications.
International students are not permitted to retake modules alongside their placement due to UKVI restrictions but can submit reassessment alongside their placement year if it does not require them to engage with study on campus.
If you are unsure please contact your course team or Academic Placement Lead.
Enrol for the placement year (Sandwich placements)
You will be asked to re-enrol just like any other year when you’re on placement, make sure you keep an eye on your student emails and enrol when you are asked to. This is usually in August if your course started in September, or December-January if your placement started in January.
Apply for additional funding (Sandwich placements)
In case you missed it, find out more about Funding. This is important for any students who usually receive a bursary (or who want to find out more about bursaries), get a maintenance loan from Student Finance England (or other funding provider), or if you’re going on an international placement. Don’t miss out on anything.
Check your emails! (Sandwich placements)
Throughout the year you will be contacted by the University with important information for your final year (e.g. selecting your modules for undergraduates) or about graduation and what comes next (for postgraduates). Some of these emails are extremely important, so keep an eye on them.
You can set up your emails to be forwarded automatically to your new work email address if your placement provider sets one up for you.