Freshers' blog

Is a placement year for you?

If you’re at the end of your first year or starting second year, you may have heard the word ‘placement’ bandied around campus. At Loughborough, we’re proud to be able to offer the option of a placement year on every undergraduate course; but a placement year isn’t for everyone.

Below, you’ll find a list of pros and cons and more importantly, some information to get you started.


Pro: Boost your career prospects

There are lots of great reasons to do a placement year, but perhaps the most important is the impact it could have on your future career. Many students are offered graduate jobs off the back of a placement. If you aren’t lucky enough to be offered a job, don’t be disheartened. You’ll still have a huge advantage with your new industry-relevant experience, a network of contacts and key skills which employers look for.

On the flip side,  you might discover the career you think you wanted to follow isn’t for you after all, which allows you to take action early to ensure that your future career is one you enjoy

Hear from Ajay, who went on placement at Total UK. He’s a brilliant example of the difference you could make to a company in a year, and the experience you’ll get out of it.

Con: Graduate a year later

If you’re considering going on a placement year, it’s important to look at all of the advantages and disadvantages. One of the things which many students worry about is graduating a year later than most of their friends. You aren’t alone though – with 1,500 Loughborough students going on placement every year, you’ll find that there will be plenty of people in the same boat as you. There’s even a Facebook page for you to meet and keep in touch with each other. Many students also say that their remaining academic year becomes more meaningful after completing a placement.

Pro: A taste of working life

Shake off that student mentality early! A placement year will give you a taste of what working life is all about. Plus – you’ll probably earn a salary!  Great if you want to treat yourself or help with financing your final year.

“Do a year in industry if you can. The experience is invaluable. I learnt so much and prospective employers love it!” –
Jess Medlock, Multi Media Textiles

Con: Change is scary!

Remember that feeling you had when you moved to Loughborough for the first time and didn’t know anyone? You might feel the same way about starting your placement, especially if you move to another town or city. Just remember that it’s all part of the experience, and don’t be too worried about losing touch with your friends in Loughborough. With group chats and frequent visits to Loughborough, it’ll be like you never left.

Pro: Support is never far away

Going on placement doesn’t mean cutting links with the University entirely for 12 months. Members of your department will check in regularly, and some will ask you to keep a log of how you’re getting on.

“Definitely do a placement year, the positives that came out of mine have benefited me immeasurably since.”
Tom Corke, Sports Technology

What next?

It’s never too early to start investigating placements! Get started by speaking to your personal tutor or department placement team. Consider doing a shorter summer work placement, as this could make finding a 12-month placement much easier. Reach out to students who have been on placement and get their thoughts, or book an appointment with our careers team. Alternatively, head to ‘The Place’ near James France, and pop in for a chat with our dedicated placement advisors.

If you don’t think a placement is for you, there are other things you can do to boost your employability. Consider looking into short-term work experience over the summer. You should also make the most of the employer events held on campus by our careers team, as well as the other services they offer.

If you’ve been on placement, why not leave us a comment below to tell other students how you found it.

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