Students on Work Placement
Work placement is a rewarding part of the Ulster University learning journey. In response to COVID-19, our many valued placement employers and partners across a range of sectors may be required to take difficult decisions, or to make adjustments in the workplace that may inevitably affect placement opportunities.
The COVID-19 situation is evolving and moving quickly, and we understand this may be causing disruption to your placement, or that you may have concerns about remaining in your place of work.
Your safety and wellbeing is our priority.
Here you will find guidance about work placement during this time.
For students on international work placements please see section for Study abroad, placement and mobility.
If we don’t answer your question
If you have a question which is not answered here, please submit a query and a member of staff will be in touch.Go to enquiry form
I am on work placement but would like to end the placement early. What should I do?
The University is now closed for teaching and social activities and our University-wide focus is now on teaching exclusively through digital channels.
As we work hard to delivering teaching in alternative ways, so your placement employer may continue with similar or appropriate adjustments, depending upon the nature of the company.
All Ulster students on a placement, being treated as employees, would be entitled to similar terms and conditions as their work colleagues.
If your placement employer makes a decision in the interests of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of their staff, that will include you.
Please follow your employer’s guidance as to the best course of action.
My placement employer says it is “business as usual” but I don’t feel safe in the placement, what can I do?
Discuss your concerns with your employer, as you may be able to negotiate an early end to placement or perhaps arrange to work at home in ways that would still be beneficial to your course of study.
For example, you may agree to stay on for a few more days so the employer can plan properly for appropriate, safe and reassuring changes in your work pattern.
If you remain concerned having spoken to your employer, please do contact your placement tutor or co-ordinator explaining your worries about health and wellbeing.
Your placement tutor will be happy to contact the employer to discuss measures that can safeguard your health and wellbeing and aim to deliver a meaningful placement experience, as far as may be possible.
My Placement employer has asked me to work from home, what should I do?
Just as we are doing at the University, working remotely from home may be a practical way for you to safely continue your role within the staff team and your workplace community. Be sure you have facilities to be effective if working from home, discuss with your employer what resources or support may be required, and estimate how long this arrangement might last.
If you do agree to work from home, please do let your employer know where you will be, especially if you are leaving rental accommodation and returning to a family home; so that they can stay in touch with you.
Then update your placement tutor or co-ordinator on campus with details of your changed arrangements.
If at any time you find that the new working arrangements are challenging or difficult for you, speak with your employer or your placement tutor.
My placement employer has terminated my contract and my placement is ended, what do I do now?
We understand that this may be disappointing for you.
Please do not worry; simply contact your placement tutor or co-ordinator on campus to update them; and they will discuss with you any assessment activity you should be prepared to undertake in support of your placement experience.
Depending on the terms and conditions of your placement employment, we recognise that you may have lost your regular income.
The following sources of information and advice may be useful:
If your placement is based in GB, please refer to the additional guidance below.
How will the University take account of any impact on my marks if I need to end placement early because my workplace closes, I need to self-isolate, or my workplace supervisor is not available?
No student will suffer academic disadvantage as a result of having to cut short their placement in the current circumstances.
Students can be assessed on placement activity to date and any remaining coursework related to the placement.
What will be the impact be on my degree title of having to return early from my placement?
Additional awards related to placement which are separate from the main subject-based degree award will still be made; and the main degree title which reflects the subject(s) studied, will be unaffected.
Students will be assessed for the placement award based on placement activity completed to the date of return, and any other course work required as part of the placement module.
What happens if I am on placement with a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body?
Mandated placements with professional, statutory and regulatory bodies will be discussed by the University with the relevant body concerned and any actions that are taken will be in line with all appropriate national guidelines issued.
Any specific issues that may arise in relation to health-related disciplines will be common across Higher Education and it expected that solutions for those areas will be considered at a national level.
We will keep all such students advised of progress and guidance as it becomes available.
What should I do if I am scheduled to go on placement in the 2020/21 academic year?
At this stage we cannot predict with any certainty the potential for students to commence their placements on the date expected.
Your safety will always be our first concern and much will depend on the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the capacity of employers to host and provide appropriate supervision and support for placement students.
You should stay in touch with your placement tutor who will seek to ensure that updated information is provided as it becomes available. It may be some time before the situation can be clarified.
Our employment recruiters may need to adjust their plans for the incoming year and we recognise that these are challenging times for many sectors and companies. Short term appointments and placements may be impacted and recruitment to placements for next year is likely to be conducted online through skype interviews, roleplay and group exercises.
Whilst there may be a reduction in the opportunities available in some sectors in the immediate term, opportunities may emerge in areas of high demand and high investment, such as health care, policing and teaching. With the support of your placement tutor, we encourage you to be flexible in considering your options and your approach to securing a placement opportunity:
- Have a think about how the experience that may be available could still match your career aspirations and skills development.
- Consider the other activities that you can engage in next academic year that will also support your employability – part time jobs and volunteering
- Stay in touch with employers, maintain your active interest in the role and be flexible with your start dates and the nature of the role.
- Reflect on how these extraordinary circumstances have changed the world of work in the sectors that most interest you; be adaptable to consider home-working, consultancy, e-learning etc.
I am a student on a course with clinical placement. Can I expect my placement to go ahead as planned?
At this stage we do not anticipate any interruption to clinical placements but as you will appreciate, we are in the middle of a situation which develops further every day.
You will be informed by your placement tutor if there are any changes to current arrangements.
I am currently on a work placement in GB and my employer has advised that I should work from home. Should I return to NI?
If you feel that a return home for any length of time is best for your health and wellbeing, the University entirely supports your decision.
Make contact with your placement tutor or placement co-ordinator at the University, update your employer on your plans and provide them with your contact address.
All Ulster University students contacting the University’s partner Key Travel will be assisted to make arrangements for a return flight home.
If you would like to return home early, you can book through the University travel provider: Key Travel.
Key Travel have a list of all Ulster students currently on an international study or work placement (outside of ROI).
Immediate travel requirements
During UK office hours
Mon-Fri 8.45-17.30 / Sat 9.00-13.00
Outside UK office hours
If travel needs to take place urgently
You will need to advise that you are an Ulster student covered by Repatriation – confirming your location, travel needs and contact details.
Non-Immediate travel requirements
Subject line should read “Repatriation Ulster 2020 + name & date of required travel”
You will need to advise your travel need and contact details
Key Travel will be prioritising requests by date of travel not by date of request