When I look back at the defining moment of my university life, it has to be my year-in-industry placement. Not only because I had the opportunity to earn some cash, it also gave me a taste of real life. There were a lot of students who signed up to do a year-in-industry placement but failed to secure one for various reasons. In this post I will share the benefits of doing a year-in-industry placement and also how you go about finding one using my experiences and the experiences of others I have spoken to.
The Benefits of a Year in Industry placement:
1. It gave me valuable work experience
That was, is and will always be the reason why I got my first job. It’s that simple. I did my year-in-industry placement with Scottish and Southern Energy (now SSE) as a Condition Monitoring Intern. The placement was good, I got to travel to 3-4 different power stations and also attend a few talks which gave me further knowledge. The experience gained from the placement really helped me understand the balance between theoretical and practical knowledge.
2. It helped in my personal development
Not many students actually focus on this, but a year-in-industry I believe actually helps in your personal development. You gain confidence in yourself, because you’ve pitted your wits against industry professionals and worked for them. You understand the importance of time-management as your boss wants weekly or even daily updates on the project, rather than last minute work. And you generally become more aware of where you want your career to be, rather than just visit a careers fair and collect freebies.
3. Paid placements mean you get paid for your hard work
It is rare for individuals to be paid vast sums – usually £14,000-£18,000. It is a placement and that’s just what you get paid for. But when you are at university and take a year-in-industry, that is still good money. Some people do exaggerate how much you will be paid, but ultimately, you are gaining useful experience and being paid.
These are the top three reasons I think should persuade you to do a year-in-industry placement. Now, how do you go about finding one and what sort of decisions do you have to take?
1. Talk to your School
Check what options are available to you and when you need to sign up. They will have all the information you need to start the process even if you hadn’t originally signed up for a course with a placement year.
2. Placements are not handed on a plate
This was the biggest lesson I learnt in my placement search. Your placement co-ordinator will only help you if you approach them for help. Looking for a placement is similar to looking for a job – it takes effort.
3. Resources to look for a placement
Just search for year-in-industry placements and you will get lots of results. But if I had to give my favourites, it would be RateMyPlacement.co.uk and YINI (for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Gradcracker is another good one for STEM placements. And oh, please use the resources the University of Kent has to offer, I have previously written about is as a top 5 resource that graduates should make use of, and you should, too.
That’s all folks, good luck with your placement if you decide to do one. I did one and it was the best decision I took for my early career. I hope you guys think about it and if you have any questions pop into your careers service or comment below and I will try to answer regularly.
About Author: Faizan is a blogger at Career Geek Blog. Career Geek Blog writes about education, employment and enterprise. With most of the authors being graduates or students, it aims to bring most up-to-date information regarding graduate careers and factors that affect them. Follow us on Twitter @career_geek or for feedback or questions on this article, like us on facebook.