Skip to main content

Work Placements

Placements are normally structured programmes or schemes where you spend an entire academic year working for an organisation as a full-time member of staff before returning to university for your final year.

Search placement opportunities online

Work Placements are normally structured programmes or schemes where you spend an entire academic year working for an organisation as a full-time member of staff before returning to university for your final year.

Work Placements generally take place after your second year at university and provide you with the opportunity to gain all-important work experience and employability skills before graduating. For many degree courses, they are an optional part, however for some it is a compulsory component of the degree. (Rate My Placement)

On some courses, work placements are compulsory in order to get your degree, while on others you can opt to do a placement as one of your modules.

If this isn't the case on your course then you should still think about arranging a placement. Careers & Employability provide advice and guidance on how to secure a placement opportunity that best matches your career development needs. Click here to see how we can help you.

Increasing numbers of employers now also have work experience places for first year undergraduates – a quarter of organisations offer paid internships and a third of employers run introductory courses, open days and other taster experiences for first year students. So what are you waiting for?

Why do a Work Placement?

“Graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the graduate recruitment selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their (chosen) organisations’ graduate programmes”. (Graduate Market Review 2015).

If you do not do a form of work based or placement learning your chances of getting a graduate level job when you graduate are significantly reduced.

Enhanced Employability...

Employability covers a broad range of non-academic or softer skills and abilities which are of value in the workplace. It includes the ability to work in a team; a willingness to demonstrate initiative and original thought; self-discipline in starting and completing tasks to deadline.

Many now expect to see evidence of these ‘Employability skills’ and achievements that boost someone's attractiveness as a potential employee

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the NUS are providing students with expert advice in a handy publication on what employers are looking for in new recruits and practical tips to help students meet these requirements. Click here to view

Academic Benefits

  • The knowledge you gain may directly relate to your course and therefore benefit your academic work - on average, students who have gone on placement get higher marks and a better degree classification than those who do not go on a placement
  • The opportunity to apply your theoretical knowledge to real situations
  • Ideas for final year project.

Personal Benefits

  • Students and graduates who undertake work placements report increased confidence in their abilities
  • You may be paid for the placement - it can be a good opportunity to earn money
  • Opportunity to adapt to workplace culture within a supported environment

How your Placement Tutor can help you

Most courses have a 'Placement Tutor', usually an academic member of staff with responsibility for placements. They can advise you of placement opportunities, how to apply for placements and provide other support relating to placements.

If you do not know who your Placement Tutor is or you have questions regarding Work Placements and other forms or Work Based Learning Please click here for subject specific contact details.

The pre placement stage of your work placement experience is a vital first step in achieving an opportunity that is right for you and your fledgling graduate career. By researching your opportunities thoroughly, managing your applications, preparing your CV and becoming aware of what you want and need  to get out of your placement you can have an amazing time that will help you gain valuable experience and edge in gaining graduate employment in a highly competitive international jobs market.

Pre Placement Guide

The Pre Placement Guide gives you information on:

  • Things to Consider (finances, links to key websites for sourcing placements)  
  • Student Disability Placement Advice  
  • Applications (including CV, covering letters, application forms (including an Work Placement Summary and Reflection Form)  
  • Placement Selection Process (including assessment centres, Psychometric & Ability Tests and  interviews hints and tips)  
  • Pre Placement Preparation (Skills Analysis, SWOT analysis, reflective learning)
  • Accepting an offer  
  • Accommodation Some useful sites for searching for accommodation for placements  

Download a copy...

Resources Available

Targetjobs: Internships 2018

Targetjobs have produced an online version of their Internships 2018 guide. You can also access Targetjobs to help you with hunting for graduate jobs and developing your employability skills.

Top Undergraduate Employers 2017-2018 (Rate my placement)

You can download a guide about the top 100UG employers.

Find Undergraduate Student Placements, Internships, Work Experience and Insights here

Careers and Employability Support

Writing your CV

Many employers will ask you to submit a CV when you apply for a placement opportunity. A CV is a document which summarises your skills, qualifications and work experience to date.

Our Careers Consultants have written a guide called 'Creating Your CV'    which will help you to write and check your CV.  

You may also wish to attend a CV Workshop, where you can pick up further tips and advice on putting together your CV.

Information on CV workshops and CV Check Appointments can be found on Improve Your CV webpage.  

Completing Application Forms

You may need to complete an application form to apply for a placement opportunity. Make a copy of the application form and use our 'Application Forms' guide to help you.

If you feel you need to speak to a Careers Consultant on a one-to-one basis about the applications you are making, you can call into a Careers Appointment, where you will be seen on a 1-1 basis for 20 minutes and no appointment is necessary or you can book an appointment, up to one week in advance with a Careers Consultant, to book please contact us on 0161 295 0023 (option 5).


Reading our 'Interviews' guide will help you prepare yourself for interviews. You can also book a mock interview with a Careers Consultant to help you practice ring 0161 295 0023 (option 5).

Careers Consultant Appointments

Any current students or graduates of the University can book an appointment to see a Careers Consultant to discuss their application form, personal statement, interview skills and career planning. A Careers Consultant will listen to your ideas, help you identify your strengths, weaknesses and skills and assist you in relating all of these things to the world of work. You can make appointments by calling 0161 295 0023 or booking online.

Careers Workshops

Careers and Employability run regular workshops covering everything from writing a CV to making speculative job applications to impressing employers in interview. Details of the sessions can be found here.

On Placement

After applying for, sourcing and gaining your ideal placement you now need to make the most of the opportunity.

Through your Skills Analysis, SWOT analysis and research you will know what you want to get out of your placement and what skills you want to develop. You need to make sure that you push yourself to achieve your goals!

Don’t expect to waltz in on the first day and try to take over the manager’s job, but making it clear that you’re eager to take on extra responsibility, such as managing your own small project. Demonstrate that you’re looking for opportunities to prove yourself. After all, there’s no harm in asking to get involved with more interesting and challenging tasks, as long as you realise that you’ll also have to do your fair share of the more mundane tasks.

You might want to start on a small level, thinking of ways in which you can improve the organisation on a micro level, such as refining a process or making something more efficient. Don’t be afraid to point out a problem, but make sure you offer a solution.

On Placement Guide

The On Placement Guide gives you key information on:

Download a copy...

Careers & Employability want to help you develop your work force and give a boost your business. Becoming a Work Placement Provider is an exciting opportunity to give your business a unique opportunity to attract some of the North West's best students and graduates and tap into the talent and skills that they can offer. By giving a student valuable experience to develop their practical and technical knowledge and invaluable work based learning you could also be finding a future employee who you already know has the skills and abilities you are looking for but also that they can work effectively within your organisation.

The University provide a free vacancy promotion service. The service allows the user to manage their placement promotion from start to finish and have full control over the process of hiring a student or graduate. More information is available by following the link.

We also run recruitment fairs throughout the year where you can meet and advertise potential placement and graduate opportunities to Undergraduate and Post Graduate Students.

We want you to make the Work Placement a positive experience for all parties involved and you can download a Guide which will help you understand and meet your responsibilities in this inspiring and fulfilling opportunity.

Download your Employers Placement Guide.

If you do not have a structured Induction programme in place there is a good practice guide for the induction of Placement Students is available:

Download your Induction Programme Guide

Attention has recently been given to rights for interns, as many internships have traditionally been unpaid. Intern Aware campaigns for fair internships and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has put together guidance for employers providing internships.