Get a placement
Looking for a placement
Searching for a placement will require you to be resourceful and persistent. This page outlines what you need to consider, essential tasks you must complete and information and advice to help you at this stage of the process.
If you want to do a placement it is important to consult the following and take any appropriate action:
- Refer to Adding (or removing) a placement year
- Read the Implications of changing your studies
- Check the advice and resources available for international students with a visa enquiry from the Student Advice and Support Service
- Ensure you are familiar with your responsibilities in the Student Placement Charter
- Refer to any placement information and guidance specific to your School, which may have been received by email and/or is available on Learn
- Use Careers Network resources to help your search for placements, explore your career options, find opportunities and make applications
- Contact your or the Careers Network Team for support and advice
- Access relevant resources from the Personal Best skills development programme including;
- Workplace skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Mental wellbeing / loneliness / resilience
- Refer to the workplace wellbeing resources and support which include information about disclosing a disability and support for your disability whilst on placement.
- Check if you are eligible for the Loughborough Bursary for Unpaid Placements (LBUP) 2019/20.
It’s never too early to start thinking about placements. Many large recruiters seek applications in the summer vacation after your first year, for placements starting after your second year, so it’s important to plan ahead. Ideally, you should prepare your CV and get it checked by the end of your first year.
But don’t panic if you start looking for placements in your second year! Many companies offer opportunities throughout the year, but application procedures and timings vary depending on the company size and industry sector, so check closing dates and deadlines.
Larger organisations are more likely 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 sometimes new opportunities are advertised at the end of the academic year, and beyond, much closer to when the placement will start.
Most students who have secured a placement have applied for at least 10 roles, so don’t be disheartened if your peers have secured a placement and you haven’t. Keep applying and seek help if you need it.
If your placement year is optional you have until the last Friday of the summer vacation (the end of September) prior to your placement year to secure one. You must be due to start your placement before the last working day of November, in order to fulfil the 45 weeks of placement work required before the beginning of the next academic year.
If your placement year is compulsory you have until the last working day in November to secure a placement.
If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa and your placement is compulsory, you need to have a confirmed placement by the end of October. This must start within 60 days of the start of Semester One (end of November) in order to comply with UKVI sponsorship guidelines.
If you are unable to meet the deadlines detailed above, you will have two options.
- Continue with your studies by re-registering for your final (or next) academic year by the end of September.
- Apply for a Leave of absence which allows you to take an agreed break from your studies, enabling you to gain work experience during that time.
There are many places to look for placement vacancies. We recommend including the following resources in your search:
The vacancy database Careers Online on the Careers Network website, searchable by ‘opportunity type’ where we advertise over 7,000 graduate jobs, placements, internships, part time opportunities and voluntary roles a year.
Vacancies promoted by your Placement Team via email, Learn pages or other online vacancy databases.
The weekly Placements and Internships Bulletin published by Careers Network.
You can see the latest edition here:
Professional networking platforms, e.g. Linkedin
Websites - these advertise placements in many popular sectors:
- Rate my placement
- Year in Industry
- Student Ladder
Information about where Loughborough students have secured placements in the past. Contact your Placement Officer who may be able to tell you about employers that advertise with them every year or show you case studies.
There are several 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 in the Bridgeman Building or The Place.
- Rate My Placement: The top 100 Undergraduate Employers
- The Guardian UK 300 Top Graduate Employers
- The Job Crown: The Top companies for Graduates to Work For
- Times Top 100 Graduate Employers
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.
Many students are successful in securing an advertised opportunity with an employer. But in industry sectors where formal placements are not widespread, you should also consider making speculative applications.
Being proactive and imaginative in your search will enhance valuable skills in communication and networking as well as build your confidence for the workplace.
For advice on applying speculatively for opportunities and building your network, visit Find jobs and work experience.
Whether you are applying for an advertised placement with a large company, or trying to secure an opportunity with a small, medium-sized or specialist employer, you will need to showcase what you have to offer and impress employers throughout the application and interview process.
For advice on writing impressive applications and preparing for interviews, tests and assessment centres, visit Make applications.
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 them 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, and 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
- 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 Online Tools page using your student login details)
You can also find opportunities abroad advertised via some of the vacancy sources listed in Find jobs and work experience.
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. Alternatively, you might wish to spend a placement year working with a European employer.
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.
During a placement year, you will need to manage your finances differently and plan ahead for changes to your income and outgoings. You must ensure you have, or will have access to, adequate funds to cover your 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 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?
The placement year is part of a student’s academic programme and, as students continue to be supported by the University, a tuition fee is payable. However, the placement year fee is much lower than a year of studying on campus, reflecting the fact that learning is taking place primarily in a workplace and not at the University.
What is the tuition fee for 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 are provided by the Student Advice and Support Service on their website under 'Placements and study abroad 21/22'.
What does the tuition fee pay for?
The placement year tuition fee supports the University’s high-quality specialist services available to students before, during and after their placement experience. These include:
- Help to source suitable placement opportunities.
- Thousands of placement opportunities advertised to our students many or which exclusively to Loughborough University students.
- Online and individual support with applications, including guidance on CVs, applications, interviews and assessment centres.
- University responsibility to confirm by the University that placements meet legal and health and safety requirements.
- Limited travel insurance cover for overseas placements and public liability insurance for the whole duration of the approved placement.
- Advice for students on employment contracts, finance, accommodation, council tax exemption letters etc.
- Additional support, if needed, for students with any specialist needs.
- Academic and wellbeing support on placement.
- Support for and marking of academic work to enhance reflection and maximise the placement learning experience.
- The award of an additional Diploma alongside the degree, following successful submission of placement related academic work of the required standard.
- Advice and support on the transition back into study.
The arrangements for placement support ensure that Loughborough remains at the forefront of HE placement provision and that our students are well-supported and succeed in securing high quality placements in an increasingly competitive market for placement opportunities.
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.
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
In a continued effort to contribute to the social mobility of our students, Loughborough University offers a bursary scheme for UK undergraduate students where eligible students can be awarded up to £3,667 for a 'Part I' unpaid placement or placements. The purpose of the scheme is to support undergraduate students from low income households (less than £25,000) to enable access to unpaid placements which persist in various industry sectors.
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 financially.
What you need to do next
If students deem themselves eligible, they are advised to read the terms and conditions thoroughly and then email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be considered for the bursary. Further information will then be provided.
What to do if you're unsure whether you're eligible
There are two points of contact:
- Regarding your financial circumstances, please contact email@example.com or phone 01509 222058
- To check if your placement/s will be eligible, please contact your School Placement Team.