Careers Network

Get a placement

Photo of placement student with supervisor at Bosch

What is a placement?

All undergraduate degrees offer the option to take a placement year: graduate-level work experience with one or more organisations, over a twelve month period, as part of the degree. Every year approximately 1400 Loughborough students do a placement, usually in their penultimate year of studies. Approximately 150 students a year go abroad for their placement.


For further information and advice see our 'brand new for 2017' guide to:

The benefits of a placement or work experience

The positive outcomes from a placement or shorter period of work-based learning are many and through work experience you can:

  • apply your knowledge and skills in a work setting
  • develop key skills and competencies sought by graduate recruiters
  • experience a role in industry which interests you
  • gain a working insight into a specific professional area
  • attend valuable training courses
  • improve your chances of securing a graduate level job
  • perform better when you return to your academic studies
  • gain a higher degree classification
  • be fast-tracked through the recruitment process for some graduate opportunities
  • find a mentor or supervisor who could be a referee for you in future job applications.

Gaining a Diploma as part of your degree

The Diploma in Industrial Studies (DIS) or Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) is awarded to students who have met the academic and professional training requirements of a one year 'sandwich' placement. The Placement Module Specification on Learn will have more details of what the expectations are for your programme.

The Diploma in International Studies (DIntS) is awarded to students after a successful period of study at a partner institution outside the UK and the assessment requirements can be similar to DIS/DPS.

For more information see page 18 of 

Types of work experience

Getting work experience while you are at university provides fantastic opportunities to apply your knowledge and develop your skills and career-readiness. Here at Loughborough we describe different kinds of work experience as follows:

  • The Placement Year (45 weeks)
  • Vacation placements
  • Internships
  • Work experience and part-time work
  • Work shadowing
  • Volunteering
  • Starting your own business

For more information on each of these see pages 2 and 3 of

To hear what past placement students have to say about their experiences, view the videos below:


When to apply for placements

Whether you are in your 1st or 2nd year, it’s never too early to start thinking about placements. Many larger recruiters seek applications over the summer holidays from students who’ve just completed their first year, to start their placement after their second year, so it is important to plan ahead. Ideally, you should prepare your CV and get it checked by the end of your first year.

However, don’t panic if you don’t start looking for placements until your second year! Many companies offer opportunities throughout the year, but application procedures and timings vary depending on the size of the company and industry sector, so it is important to check closing dates and deadlines.

The larger the organisation, the more likely they are to advertise their placements at the beginning of the Autumn term (or sooner!) and have longer recruitment processes, sometimes lasting until early Spring. Some companies don't advertise until later in the year and in some areas new opportunities are advertised at the end of the academic year, and beyond, much closer to when the placement will start.

Where to look for advertised placements

Searching for a placement will require you to be resourceful and persistent. Get a head start with some insider information on when and where to look for opportunities and the support available to you throughout the process.

There are many places to look for placement vacancies. To save time, and to ensure you see placement opportunities targeted at Loughborough University students, we recommend including the following resources in your search:

The vacancy database Careers Online on the Careers Network website, searchable by ‘opportunity type’. On this we advertise over 7,000 graduate jobs, placements, internships, part time opportunities and voluntary roles a year.

Vacancies promoted by the Placement Team in your School via email, Learn pages or other online vacancy databases.

The weekly Placements and Internships Bulletin published by Careers Network, listing opportunities by sector. Please see the latest edition here: Placement Bulletin 7th December

Social media accounts run by your School and the Careers Network channels:

Professional networking platforms

The following websites advertise placements in many popular career areas:

Information about where Loughborough students have secured placements in the past. Follow our Twitter campaign #gotmyplacement and contact your Your Placement Officer who may be able to tell you about employers that advertise with them every year or show you case studies.

Publications

There are a number of employer directories and listings available to help you research potential employers to apply to. See the publications below or collect your free copy from Careers Network.

Opportunities promoted at employer events on campus

Loughborough University has exceptionally strong links with employers so visit  Meet employers on campus to see who's coming and when.

Finding somewhere to live

As well as finding a great work experience opportunity, sorting out your accommodation for your time on placement is also important. Explore your options as early as possible to work out what will be the right choice for you.

Living at home

Many students search for a placement near home and can move back home for a year to live with family. This can be a good option financially and being in a supportive environment can help you to maximise your placement opportunity. However, this can limit your options for the type of placement you can apply for, or the number of applications you can make, simply because there may only be a small number of relevant placements within travelling distance from home. Keeping this in mind, though, can form part of your application strategy, as well as applying for placements in other locations and being open to living away from home (and away from Loughborough) for a year.

Staying with someone you know

You could take up a placement away from home, but near a friend or relative whom you could stay with. However, think carefully about whether this is something that would suit you and the people you are staying with for the duration of your placement. You could agree to stay with someone you know for just a short time, giving you the opportunity to find alternative rented accommodation in the area.

Living in Loughborough

Some students seek placements in and around the Loughborough area, so they can continue to take part in activities they have a commitment to (e.g. sport or music) or because they want to maintain their University social life. Loughborough University itself is a placement employer, with a growing number of opportunities, and there are many other relevant and valuable opportunities in the East Midlands to which you can travel easily from Loughborough.

If this will be the first time you have looked for rented accommodation in Loughborough visit the Student Advice and Support Service website and refer to their leaflet:

Finding accommodation in the UK

Most students undertaking a 45-week placement will move away from Loughborough (and away from their family home) and secure accommodation near their place of work.

Help from your placement employer

In some cases employers might recommend accommodation, help you to find something suitable or put you in touch with other students or staff you could share with. Ask your employer if they can offer any assistance.

Finding your own place to live

If your employer can’t help you, you’ll need to find other rented accommodation options near to where you’ll be working. Advice on house-hunting, contracts, managing your finances, safety, dealing with any problems and much more is available from the Student Advice and Support Service. Most of this is relevant to searching for accommodation elsewhere in the UK, not just in Loughborough and is available in

Accommodation in Loughborough if you don’t find a placement 

You can:

  1. either look into applying for a room in a hall (if you have not received a placement offer by Easter)
  2. or rent private accommodation.

For more information on this see pages 16 and 17 of

The benefits of a placement abroad

Why do a placement abroad?

Gaining employment in another country provides opportunities to:

  • put what you’ve learnt into practice in a new working environment and develop a broader outlook
  • enhance your international mobility – there’s no better time to develop your global experience than as a student
  • meet a diverse range of people from different backgrounds
  • learn or practise speaking another language
  • get ahead in the graduate job market – by approaching business issues from another cultural perspective and improving your CV
  • enhance your life skills and personal development, increase your employability and improve your confidence
  • build an international network of contacts who may be helpful when you apply for graduate opportunities

Where to find international placement opportunities

Finding suitable opportunities abroad may seem more challenging than finding work experience in the UK, but many of the same principles apply. To use your time efficiently, narrow down your search to specific roles, type of employer and location (country/province/state). Be clear about the nature of the placement you are seeking, e.g. year-long placements or short internships, as this may influence how you search. Also be aware of how employer expectations and the etiquette for applications and interviews might vary between countries. Sources of vacancies and information about placement opportunities in other countries include:

  • The vacancy database Careers Online on the Careers Network website
  • Your School – your Placement Officer will be able to tell you about any international opportunities that they know of
  • Prospects – Working abroad– with sections on internships and summer jobs for each country listed
  • Target jobs – Working abroad – advice on getting work experience by country
  • Goinglobal – country specific information, including employer directories and a database of internship opportunities (Accessible via our Working abroad page using your student login details)

You can also find opportunities abroad advertised via some of the vacancy sources listed on page 6 of

Study exchanges and work placements in Europe and beyond

At Loughborough we positively support study exchanges and/or work placements in Europe. There are exchange opportunities at over 100 European universities, with the option to study for either a semester or a year, depending on your degree programme at Loughborough. Alternatively, you might wish to spend a placement year working with a European employer. In both cases, you gain insight into another culture, broaden your experience and develop both intellectual and personal maturity.

Some courses also offer the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner institutions in countries outside Europe. Options for each programme may vary, so consult your Placement Officer for more details.

For more information on ‘contracts for European placements’ and also ‘funding for study and work placements in Europe’, see pages 8 and 9 of

Managing your money

During a placement year, you may need to manage your finances differently and will need to plan ahead for changes to your income and outgoings.  All students should ensure they have, or will have access to, adequate funds to cover their placement year expenses before committing to undertake any placement opportunity.

What will I earn during a placement year?

Many students earn a salary whilst on placement. These vary according to role, industry sector, size of employer and location, but generally fall between £11,000 (per annum) and in some industries as much as £25,000+ (per annum). In certain sectors, such as business, engineering, manufacturing and retail, most placements are offered with a salary.  In a few career areas, however, such as psychology, sport and the creative industries, some placements are unpaid. Students on unpaid placements however often have the opportunity to attend valuable training courses and/or take up additional ad hoc work with the organisation for which they can be paid. 

Will I still pay a tuition fee whilst I am on placement?

Yes. If you undertake a placement as part of your degree you will receive support from The University throughout your placement year. But this fee is only a fraction of the standard tuition fee, reflecting the fact that your learning is taking place primarily in a workplace and not on campus.  For more information on what your placement fee covers, see page 15 of

What is the tuition fee How to secure a placement or work experiencefor a placement year?

The placement year fee is aligned to the placement year fee charged at other comparable universities and will not exceed 20% of the Loughborough full-time undergraduate tuition fees. The current tuition fees applicable for students undertaking a placement year are specified on the student finance pages of the University website. Further details and advice on funding is provided by the Student Advice and Support Service in their leaflet’ Funding for placements and study abroad’ available on their website.

Will I need to pay Council Tax while I am on placement?

If you are completing a placement year as part of your degree programme, you are usually exempt from paying Council Tax. Student Enquiries, located in the Rutland Building, will provide you with a Council Tax exemption letter upon request.  They also provide further information about council tax.

Can I apply for tuition fee and maintenance loans?

UK and EU students will be able to apply for a tuition fee loan from the Student Loans Company to cover the cost of placement year tuition fees. UK students may also be eligible to apply for a maintenance loan whilst on placement. The financial support available to you, however, may vary depending on a number of factors. You are advised to check with the Student Advice and Support Service on your likely financial entitlement, particularly if undertaking an unpaid placement. 

Student Finance for placements - Video

All students should ensure they have, or will have access to, adequate funds to cover their placement year expenses before committing to undertake any placement opportunity.

Loughborough Bursary for Unpaid Placements (LBUP) Scheme

Loughborough Bursary for Unpaid Placements (LBUP) Scheme

In a continued effort to contribute to the social mobility of our students, Loughborough University is pleased to offer a bursary scheme for UK undergraduate students where eligible students can be awarded up to £5,000 for a 45-week 'Part I' unpaid placement.  The purpose of this bursary scheme is to support undergraduate students from low income households (less than £25,000) to enable access to unpaid placements which still persist in various industry sectors (see 'Managing your money' above). 

Full terms and conditions are available below:

Whilst Loughborough University does not support unpaid placements such opportunities are common place and are on the rise.  By providing these funds we aim to make these types of placements a realistic aspiration for students who may not otherwise consider them or would have difficulties supporting themselves.

What you need to do next

Applications for the bursary will open later in the academic year. Please check back on this page to find out when and to complete the Declaration of Interest form once it is available.

What to do if you're unsure whether you're eligible

There are two points of contact:

  • Regarding your financial circumstances please contact advice@lboro.ac.uk or phone 01509 222058
  • Regarding whether your placement/s will be eligible then please contact your School Placement Team.

Getting help and support

If your placement forms part of your degree, there are key people at the University who will support you during this part of your Loughborough journey.

Your Placements Team

There are a number of key staff at the University responsible for providing support to placement students. Their individual titles may vary across Schools, but their roles fall into one of these categories.

Academic Placement Tutor/Co-ordinator

This is the member of academic staff in your School who oversees placement activity, ensuring that placements meet the appropriate requirement for accreditation and that support is provided for all aspects of the process.

Placement Officer

Each School has a dedicated person or team of people who support you in your search to find opportunities and ensures that the relevant administrative procedures are carried out, including Health and Safety and risk assessments. Support is provided before, during and after your placement. This includes arranging presentations to help you prepare for the process, promoting opportunities and providing one-to-one advice all year round.

Academic Placement Supervisor

All students undertaking a year placement are allocated a ‘supervisor’ who is a member of academic staff who will provide support while you are out on placement. This person is responsible for ensuring you are well supported in the workplace, you are given well-defined assignments that support your learning and development and are monitored during your placement. They will usually visit you and your line manager within the first three to six months of the placement. Where this is not possible, communication via phone or video-call may take place, particularly for non-UK based placements.

Careers Network

The Careers Network team offers information and advice to students across the University in a number of areas to support your placement journey. They can provide additional help to students if finding a suitable placement is more challenging and to those seeking shorter periods of work experience which may or may not be accredited as part of your degree.

For further information on:

    • support for international students and students with disabilities 
    • student responsibilities
    • moving into the workplace

see page 18 and 19 of