Student stories: Industry placements

Completing an industrial placement is a fantastic way of building up your skills and experience of working in a specific industry or sector. ​

A one-year placement (also called an industrial placement, sandwich year, or year in industry placement) is a structured employment programme offered by companies. You’ll spend one academic year working for a company as a full-time, paid employee before returning to your studies. They are available across a broad range of job areas and industries, including science, IT, engineering, and business.

Head over to the blog to take a look at what placements our students have taken while studying. Below is a selection of some of the student stories.

Find out more about how the University supports students to source and apply for placements on our Careers & Employability webpages.

Erin: First Derivatives plc

Erin is studying Mathematics with Finance, and next year will be taking a Financial Engineer placement with First Derivatives plc.

When applying to university in 2019 I had no intention of undertaking a year in industry. But with the current job market more competitive than ever, I knew I needed to do something more than just my degree, to make myself stand out.

Deciding to undertake an industrial placement can be a daunting idea, especially whilst keeping up with academic studies and with this year’s added complication of a global pandemic! Last September I decided to take the plunge, and 5 months later I was rewarded with my dream offer.

Next year I will be undertaking my industrial placement as a Financial Engineer with First Derivatives. Securing this role was not easy, but I learnt a lot along the way, both personally and professionally.

The first step in my placement journey was the Science and Engineering YINI bootcamp, which ran for three days at the start of September. A key part of this were the Q&A sessions, where we had the chance to question past placement students, along with some employers. Engaging with these sessions allowed me to understand more about the application processes, and what to expect from a year in industry.

In fact, this is where I first heard of First Derivatives, showing the importance of such events – had I not attended, I might not be accepting the placement that I am today! The bootcamp set me on the path to begin applying to companies, and I came away feeling motivated and prepared to start my placement journey.

Read Erin’s full story.

Nikhil: Co-Op

Nikhil is studying International Business with a Year in Industry, and undertook a placement year at Co-Op.

Sadly, my placement year at First Mile Technologies in Toronto, Canada had to be cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, as I had some spare time while back at home I decided to work as a temporary staff member at my local Southern Co-Op in my hometown of Windsor. I also wanted to get involved and play a part working during this pandemic to try and help as much as I could. Additionally, I also enjoy a challenge and working in a grocery store posed that challenge as I have never worked in one before or anything similar.

Working at the Co-Op has been fantastic and has been one of my favourite jobs to date. I have met some amazing colleagues who are the same age and in a similar position to me. It took a few shifts to get used to the till systems, the layout of the store and the different processes but all in all it was pretty simple to get used too. Overall, I recommend working in a grocery store if you have some spare time, the pay is good, and the hours are flexible. I have been there a month now and have enjoyed every minute. I hope to be kept on till late on in the summer until I have to come back for final year.

Adam: Bank of England

Adam is studying Business Economics with a Year in Industry and spent 13 months in a placement role, working as a Research Assistant at the Bank of England in London.

I worked in the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Office for 13 months. The IEO is a small office that conducts in-depth evaluations of different policy areas at the Bank.

Whilst I was there, I worked on the evaluation of the Bank’s approach to concurrent stress testing (published April 2019) and the evaluation of the Bank’s approach to research (published October 2019).

I was involved in many aspects of the evaluations: I wrote a box in the stress testing evaluation and produced the graphics; I engaged with senior stakeholders both internally and externally; I created a Bank-wide staff survey and analysed the results using Excel skills I gained during my second year at university; and I conducted various pieces of standalone research and analysis for the team. I even got my name in the reports!

The application process for my placement was tough, and involved a mix of technical and competency-based tests and interviews.

Prior to my assessment centre I visited the Career Studio and the advice and insight they gave me was hugely useful. I’d recommend anyone applying for placements, internships or graduate roles to speak with a Career Coach before or during the application process, as you may get some valuable insight into what certain organisations want in your application.

Read Adam’s full story.