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Should I do a Placement Year?

By Lydia

Unsure whether a placement year is for you? Read about Lydia's first-hand experience, and her placement with Nike UK, in our blog post below. 

Are you considering a placement year?

If you are considering whether to do a degree with a placement year in your penultimate year then I cannot recommend it enough! Although it can be really time consuming, tough to get one and at times feel like you get lots of rejections, keep persevering and you will succeed!

I applied for around 20 placements and got offered two, so the ratio of applications to offers is quite low. But that doesn’t mean it is not possible! In my experience, it sets you up for final year when all graduates are applying for those graduate level jobs.


What support is available for those interested in placement years?

The Careers Service at Newcastle University is also really helpful, and provide lots of services in helping you find one. Firstly, they hold an annual graduate recruitment and placements fair and invite lots of employers offering placements, so you can talk first hand to companies that you may wish to apply for. They also offer a CV clinic where they can make amendments and suggestions on how to improve your CV. You can also book onto a mock assessment centre or have a mock interview with the careers team and get feedback to ensure you are as set up as you can be for the real thing.


What placement options are there?

A placement year/year in industry/sandwich degree is the option for students to have a years’ work experience in between their second and third year. It was traditionally for business and engineering courses to allow students to gain more insight and hands on work experience and learning away from the classroom. However, now pretty much all courses allow this option for students to gain this work experience.

Students can do a work placement in the UK or, Visa permitting, abroad too. Students can earn money for a year and gain work experience in the industry they potentially would like to work in. See blog on Home page to find out more about this.


My experience of doing a placement year

I completed my placement year with Nike UK in the Football Team Sales department. It was an amazing year of work experience and allowed me to gain lots of experience I can now talk about in interviews. Some of my highlights were running a training session with Gareth Southgate, going to Barcelona to watch the Champions League quarter final and running the first ever Nike World Cup Football Festival at St George’s Park! Some of my friends also completed theirs with other companies such as: Cannon, Intel, L’oreal, 3M, Kia, Volkswagen and lots of smaller companies too. 


When I came back to University to complete my degree, I was much more motivated and in a 9-5 mentality. Statistics actually show that you are much more likely to achieve a 2:1 or a First Class honours if you do a placement year than if you do not. 

A further advantage to completing a placement is you may get offered a job from it. Out of my friendship group 3 out of the 5 of us were offered to go back after graduating, which demonstrates the possible career progression. A final advantage is you can actually earn money for a year as well as still getting your student loan. Which is a great way to start budgeting and paying that student overdraft off!

Don’t worry if you are not totally convinced about opting to do a placement, as most universities and courses allow you to change your mind part way through to either opt in to do a placement or just go straight through into your final year.