All students on our four-year 'sandwich' degrees 'with professional placement year' will be expected to complete a 12-month placement between their second and third year of study.
A professional placement can help you in several ways. By giving you real-world work experience, in a challenging environment, it can help you develop valuable skills such as team work, accountability, analytical ability and relationship building. These, together with the experience you gain, will raise your attractiveness to potential employers and will also be of use in your final year of study, boosting your confidence and helping you meet the challenges of project work and intensive study.
You will be encouraged to capture the ways in which your placement helps you to develop personally, and your acquisition of professional experience, via Sussex Plus - the University's scheme that enables students to understand and articulate their indvidual skills.
A good placement is determined by the kind of work you do, rather than the type of organisation you work for. A placement should involve many or all of the following:
- work that allows you to explore and understand elements of your degree course, be that general management or specialist areas like finance, marketing or people management
- a clearly defined project or projects, with fixed deliverables and timescales
- an opportunity to build interpersonal skills through teamwork and interaction with colleagues or customers
- scope for participation in company events and training
- the chance to see more than one aspect of the business, either by working in different departments or by work-shadowing
- the opportunity to develop a range of work related skills in readiness for graduate employment
The success of your placement will depend on your commitment to the job and the thought you apply to developing your skills. The Sussex Plus scheme is designed to support you in this process.
Students are encouraged and supported from year 1 to think about the type of organisation they would like to work for and to prepare themselves for the application process. Many organisations begin the recruitment process in the autumn of the students' second year, so early searches and applications are essential.
Details of placement opportunities will be made available and continuously updated on the Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) website, with a feed facility for new opportunities to be emailed to you daily.
You are also encouraged to soirce opportunities directly from organisations' websites; many of the big graduate employers run placement schemes, including the main professional services firms and most of the advertisers at www.prospects.ac.uk. Other excellent sources of placement opportunities include:
- Your family, friends, university tutors and other contacts
If you identify a potential placement opportunity independently with an organisation the University has not worked with before, you will need to follow a process for getting the details of the placement approved by the University. The same process will ensure that placement providers are properly briefed and accept the responsibilities that they are undertaking.
You will be offered specific preparation for your placement year to ensure that you are ready to benefit fully from the experience. This will include:
- CV and application writing workshops
- Help with interview preparation
- Skills training
- Use of the e-portfolio tool that will capture a log of your placement experience (part of Sussex Plus)
- Training in risk assessment
- Advice on employment law
- Information on safety and wellbeing
Although the University cannot guarantee that every student will secure a placement, we will ensure that all students on professional placement degrees will be provided with work placement interview opportunities. UItimately it is for employers to shortlist and select successful placement applicants and the University cannot guarantee a successful outcome. In the event that a student is not successful in securing a placement, they have the option to transfer to the three-year version of the degree (subject to otherwise being in good academic and financial standing).
Note: the details of the placement scheme are subject to a continuous process of academic validation and review and may be subject to change.