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Coronavirus FAQs for students on sandwich and short placements

Coronavirus FAQs for students on sandwich and short placements

Updated: 15 October 2021

These FAQs are relevant to students planning to undertake or are on a sandwich placement, or a short placement only. Dedicated guidance is also available if you’re on a health placement or education placement.

Useful information:

• For Sheffield Hallam updates, advice and guidance a specific website has been created on shu.ac.uk
• For UK Government advice for Higher Education providers
• For NHS Covid-19 advice: where to get tested, get vaccinated, symptoms to look out for 
• For Public Health England (PHE) updated advice
• For information about the NHS 111 service
• For advice on restrictions affecting the UK
• For UK Government information on travelling from England
• For UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office foreign travel advice
• For UK Health & Safety Executive guidance on COVID-secure workplaces
• For UK Government information on Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information for all students

Are placements still going ahead?

The University remains committed to offering work placements during the COVID-19 outbreak for all courses which offer the opportunity to undertake a sandwich placement, or a short placement which is integrated as part of a work experience module.

This includes face-to-face, virtual/remote working placements and international travel depending on the destination country.

Further information for students looking for a placement is included toward the end of this page and on your Placement Blackboard site, Careers & Employability site and Careers Centre 360. All of which are available within the Your work placement site.

What if we go back into lockdown?

The UK Government's position is that this is unlikely to happen, but we're prepared if it does. The University has a comprehensive contingency plan in place in the event of a UK, or regional lockdown which is applicable to all types of work experience, including sandwich placements and short placements.

If your placement becomes unviable, difficult to continue, or put on hold due to COVID-19, the University will work with you to determine the appropriate next steps for you to ensure that your progression on your course is not unduly affected.

I am studying on a Student Visa, what else do I need to know about going on placement?

If you are studying on a Student Visa, there is information for International Students on Student Visas which you must follow. Placements are still going ahead for all students, including those on Student Visas.

All students (including those on a Student Visa) must keep the University up-to-date with their plans to undertake a placement and all placements must be formally approved before commencement; this includes any changes to their placements.

As an international student studying with us on a Student Visa, you must ensure that you are able to demonstrate that you are engaging with your studies and/or placement in any alternative arrangements. Therefore, if your placement has been postponed, cancelled or is at risk of being withdrawn, you must contact the University’s Work Experience Team immediately for further advice.   

If I feel going on placement will affect my health, should I go on placement? 

If you are currently on placement or have any concerns about going on placement, in the first instance please seek advice and guidance from your placement provider or your Academic Adviser (found on Blackboard) or alternative member of the teaching team for your placement. This should include concerns you have relating to an underlying health condition you have which may be negatively impacted by COVID-19. 

The University’s Keeping safe on campus pages have a wide variety of help and advice to help you access the right information and support. Many of the answers to these types of questions can be found there, along with recommended actions you should take if you have specific concerns.

The University will continue to support you whilst you are on placement and will help you in your specific circumstances.

What do I do if I develop symptoms of Coronavirus or come in contact with someone with Coronavirus, should I self-isolate? 

You must follow the latest advice of the UK Government in relation to COVID-19 and on the University’s Keeping safe on campus pages and if you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must report this via the COVID-19 Reporting Contact Form.

The advice you need to follow will vary depending on where you live, or where you are currently working. You must ensure you are following the correct advice and that you speak with your placement provider to discuss the impact this might have on your ability to work, including their policies on sickness absence and any adjustments that can be made to support you. Don’t forget to keep your supporting academic up-to-date (found on blackboard), or the Work Experience Team.

I am a carer for elderly relatives or children, should I go on placement? 

You may not wish to undertake a placement in the current circumstances and the impact this might have on your commitments outside your University life, which is understandable. We recommend you discuss your specific circumstances and career aspirations with your Academic Adviser and/or Employability Adviser. You will find your named contacts on blackboard. The University and course teams are doing all they can to ensure students received an outstanding student experience, including working with employers, so if a face-to-face placement is not possible then they will be able to talk you through potential alternative options.

If you have any concerns about loved ones regarding the COVID-19 virus, please call the free NHS 111 telephone helpline.

Advice specific to Short Placements

Can I travel outside the UK to do a face-to-face/attended placement?

The University is now able to approve study exchange or work placements of all durations where travel outside the UK is required to attend the placement, as these are once again viable following the UK Government’s latest advice in relation to foreign travel on 4 October 2021.

Previously, travel of less than one semester in duration was not viable, before the move to the single 'Red list’ countries and territories. Travel to ‘Red list’ countries and territories continue to be prohibited. Virtual / remote working placements continue to be available for any students who wish to undertake a short placement virtually.

All placements (including travel arrangements) must be approved in advance of the commencement of the placement, and you must not begin your placement, or travel internationally until your placement has been fully approved.

If your placement has not yet been approved, find out what you need to do to Get your placement approved, or contact the Work Experience Team.

Advice specific to Sandwich Placements and Postgraduate Work Placements

What support is available to help me secure a placement?

These are still clearly difficult times, but employers are still looking for students to join their organisations on placement, which is really encouraging to hear, and our students are part of their recovery. The University has seen healthy levels of recovery in the numbers of students securing both sandwich and short placements. There are lots of opportunities on your course, online, through employer fairs and events that can help you secure a placement that meets your aspirations and circumstances.

Your Placement Blackboard site has resources to help you get started at your own pace, along with the resources on the Careers & Employability site and Careers Centre 360. All of which are available within the Your work placement site.

What is the deadline to secure a placement?

For all students, you must inform the University that you have secured a placement immediately and you must not start until your placement has been approved.

If you have not yet secured a placement, your deadline to secure a placement and inform the University depends on the course you are studying:

  • 31 July – for all Undergraduate students
  • 31 July – for Postgraduate students who started their course in September
  • 30 November – for Postgraduate students who started their course in January
  • Any specific date set by your Course Leader, e.g. in Department of Computing, Department of Engineering & Maths – check your placement blackboard site

Any placements secured after these dates may only be approved by exception only.

Your final opportunity to inform the University you intend to go on an Undergraduate placement is usually the week before your final year induction and you will need to be enrolled on the placement year of your course and be on an approved placement.

For postgraduate students, your final opportunity to inform the University you intend to go on a work placement is set by your course team, this is usually within the final 1-2 months before your dissertation is due to be handed in.

For all students, we need to know asap when you have a placement. As a general reminder, you must not start your placement without this being authorised by the University. If your placement has not yet been approved, find out what you need to do to Get your placement approved, or contact the Work Experience Team.

What is the latest date I can start my placement?

If you are an undergraduate student on a 4-year degree, your placement should start as soon as possible and must start by the end of Semester 1 (December) to avoid an impact on your funding and other things. If you think you need longer, you should seek advice from your Student Support Adviser.

If you are a postgraduate student, your placement must start as soon as possible after your taught studies and any University vacation periods.

If you are a student studying with us on a Student Visa, there are additional things you must consider and these are in our International Students on Student visas page.

For further information, see the Arranging your placement section.

Can I travel outside the UK to do a face-to-face/attended placement?

As of 15 October 2021, the University further lifted the restrictions on travel abroad for students traveling to countries and territories not on the UK Government’s ‘Red list’ of countries and territories on the day of travel.This now includes short placements of less than one semester in duration. These placements were previously not viable prior to the UK Government’s advice prior to 4 October 2021, which most notably removed the Amber & Green lists of countries and territories and also updated the rules on traveling to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19).

All placements (including travel arrangements) must be approved in advance of the commencement of the placement, and you must not begin your placement, or travel internationally until your placement has been fully approved.

If your placement has not yet been approved, find out what you need to do to Get your placement approved, or contact the Work Experience Team.

I want to work for an overseas employer, can I do this as a virtual placement from the UK or my home country?

Virtual placements or placements that can be completed remotely will continue to be possible regardless of any restrictions on either international travel, or face-to-face/attended placements. 

If your placement has not yet been approved, find out what you need to do to Get your placement approved, or contact the Work Experience Team.

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