What happens on placement

If you are currently on placement, or simply curious about what you will need to do when you go on placement, this page will give you an overview of the kind of things you should expect. Every student’s experience will be very different, even if you’re taking over from a previous placement student from the year before, which means you have a lot of opportunity to influence what you get out of a placement.

Everything you do on a sandwich placement should work toward the completion of your synoptic portfolio, a copy of which will be made available to you on your course’s placement blackboard site. This will help you to get the most out of your placement experience and you will work through this with an academic member of staff so this is ready to submit before you come back to final year, or you graduate if you’re a postgraduate student. By doing so, you will receive an Applied Professional Diploma but if you don’t, you’ll usually still get the sandwich degree if you completed enough time on placement.

You still have access to the full range of University support, including dedicated named advisers (find out who on blackboard), although some of the terminology might change. For example, your Academic Adviser might become your ‘Placement Academic Adviser’ or an equivalent role, depending on your course, but every student is supervised by an academic member of staff.

You will be expected to:

  • Complete tasks based around your job description (you won’t only be making teas!)
  • Identify and deploy professional behaviours, including integrity and ethical practice to achieve personal success. Whilst you are on placement, you will still be classed as a student of Sheffield Hallam. This means you have a responsibility to act professionally to both the University and your employer at all times
  • Apply relevant aspects of academic learning to your current role and work environment in support of the organisation's priorities and objectives
  • Complete relevant academic work around your placement

Will I have to do any academic work during my placement? 

You will be required to complete academic work for the Applied Professional Diploma. This work will be recorded through 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. You will get a Placement Academic Adviser (or equivalent) that will set up 3 touchpoints throughout your placement that will support you with your synoptic portfolio.

You will receive the following support: 

  • Contact from the University on your first day, along with 2 other reminders to start your Uni work and to see how you’re getting on (so look out for an email from workexperience@shu.ac.uk)
  • 3 touchpoints with your Placement Academic Adviser (or equivalent) during your placement year. This will usually take place over the phone or by video call. These are the meetings you will discuss your progress with your Synoptic Portfolio in more detail and check you are on track with your goals
  • Your Student Support Adviser and Sheffield Hallam Wellbeing services will still be available to you should you need them via Hallam Help
  • Your Employability Adviser will still be available to you during the year too, particularly if you need to secure further placements
  • The University’s report and support service is also available to you, should you ever need it or would like to make an anonymous report

These are just some of the things you might want to look out for during your time on placement but as you are still a student with us, you are also entitled to all the usual support services the University has to offer, which we try our best to continue to offer while you’re away on placement too.

Setting and achieving goals:

  • Most students see their placement year as the highlight of their degree, so it is recommended to set personal goals during this time to get the most out of your time during placement
  • Take advantage of any opportunities presented, even if they are outside of your job role as you never know who you might meet or the benefits that may come from this
  • Make sure to ask questions if you are unsure and always be willing to learn something new or unfamiliar. This will allow your confidence to grow

Your Placement Academic Adviser (or equivalent) and your line manager can help you to both set and achieve these goals, so do work with them to do this and get the best experience possible. Don’t forget, you should capture your goals and reflections in your Synoptic Portfolio too throughout (available on your placement blackboard site.)

Health and safety considerations:

  • Before you go on placement, you should work with your employer to understand the working environment and any potential health & safety risks and hazards you might encounter in the workplace – this forms part of the approval of all placements at Sheffield Hallam
  • Once you are on placement a health and safety induction must take place to orientate yourself with the working environment, or if you are working remotely, this should include a review of your work area to ensure this is comfortable for full-time work
  • If the circumstances are different to what was anticipated, you must inform the University immediately on workexperience@shu.ac.uk and not carry out any activity that you feel may have an adverse effect on your health and safety, e.g. supervising a kitchen without a food and hygiene certificate!

Your placement might change significantly during the year, particularly given the ever-changing external environment, including changes to local and national measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with the latest Coronavirus FAQs for students on sandwich and short placements and ensure that you are accessing the right support when you need it, and taking effective action when you need to.

Share this page