Complete the mandatory Health & Safety Training Module
All students undertaking a sandwich placement, or short work experience need to complete the Health & Safety: Professional Preparation for your Placement training module, which will introduce you to your role and responsibilities around Health and Safety. The health & safety aspect of your placement is all part of your development on your journey to becoming a professional, therefore all students must complete this training before your placement can be approved. You only need to complete this training once per year, and you may have already done so as part of your work experience module; so if you’re going out on a sandwich placement after your short work experience, you might want to take the time to refresh your knowledge (which we fully recommend!), or just skip ahead to the next part of your preparation. This training covers the majority of health & safety aspects you need to prepare for before your placement and the full version of the Health & Safety policy (PDF, 297.8KB) and Health & Safety guidance (PDF, 298.9KB) is available to download. The assessment for this module forms part of the approval process, so after you have completed the training, get your placement approved!
Introduce yourself to your placement provider
A lot of students meet their placement provider as part of the recruitment for the placement, but not everyone does, and the person you will be working for might be different to the person you met at the interview. As soon as you know who you will be working for, get in touch with them to discuss the placement before your first day. Before your work experience can be approved, you will need to have had a conversation with them about the work you will be doing and you will both need to agree upon an overall level of health & safety risk for the placement. The Health & Safety training module can help to explain the kinds of things to look out for, to help you do this. As part of this conversation, it would be a good idea to let your new placement provider know if there is anything you might need to help support you, so this is an extremely important conversation to have before you start your placement and you will need to have done so before you get your placement approved.
Please use the below checklist to help structure the initial discussions with your placement provider. The key things you need to ensure you are informed about before commencing your placement and have discussed with your placement provider are:
your role and responsibilities – ensure you have a copy of your job description
- health & safety and completion of the risk assessment
- any additional support or reasonable adjustments you require in the workplace
- are there any additional checks you need to undertake or documentation that you need to provide in order to proceed with your placement e.g. a DBS check, occupational health checks, vaccinations etc.
- your placement start and end date
- your working days and hours
- if applicable, confirmation of your salary
- what the sickness and absence procedure is
- the dress code
- your Supervisor’s name, job role, email and telephone number
- where to report to on your first day
- what your induction programme will involve
Make sure you know who your supporting academic will be
When you are on placement, you will have access to a supporting academic to help guide you through the learning experience. This is usually the person who authorises your placement as part of your sandwich degree, or work experience module. If your work experience is part of a module, this might be obvious (for instance, your seminar tutor!) – whereas for a sandwich placement, this could be your Academic Adviser or another member of staff. If you’re not sure, try asking your named Academic Adviser, Module Leader or Course Leader. If you can, it would be a good idea to have an initial discussion with your supporting academic about what you are hoping to learn from the work experience. You also need to check you know where to find and submit any documentation or assessments you will need to complete whilst on placement (e.g. Synoptic portfolio, reflective assignment etc. – this will differ depending on the type of placement and course you are on) and your supporting academic can help you with this.
Get insights from our Placement Rep
If you want to know more about what it was like to work for a particular placement provider, or more generally what it’s like to work in the same industry, a Placement Rep might be able to give you some useful tips on how to settle in quickly, what the local area is like, the culture of the organisation and how to get involved in the best work! 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.
For longer placements (e.g. sandwich placements!) these additional practical steps might help
When starting a placement, there are many practical factors to consider due to moving, or just making the transition from being a full-time student to being in a full-time working environment. See the below list to get an idea of some things you should think about:
- Update My Student Record with your new address/contact details
- Change your GP / Dental Practice to one local to your new address
- Change the address on your driver's license 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 – if you need the University to confirm you’re still a student, download a letter from My Student Record or contact email@example.com and ask for a council tax letter if your local council doesn’t accept these
- Buy insurance for your new address
- Tier 4 and other students may be required to register with local police force. Check gov.uk for guidance
- Check your annual leave, sick pay, maternity/paternity leave entitlements with your line manager