Placement Q&A's

Enhanced placement guidance and information for the new work of work.

Our flexible options for placement year 20/21 enable students to continue to gain this invaluable experience in support of future career ambitions.

The placement guidance below is intended to support your and help you to stay connected, gain insights and build networks in the new world of work

  • What do I do if I am scheduled to go on placement in the 2020/21 academic year?

    We encourage you where possible to commit to finding a placement for the next academic year.

    This experience is invaluable in preparing you for a successful future and career.

    The experience, skills, and networks that you build on placement can help you compete for future available graduate opportunities.

    Students normally spend a year on placement however, this year we have introduced new levels of flexibility.

    Your placement tutor and Employability & Careers will help you plan your placement experience for 2020/21.

  • What is the process for enrolment and registration?

    Students will be guided by their course team and placement tutor to register for placement by enrolling on the Diploma for Professional Practise commencing in September.

    Depending on the placement option you select you may also be registered on the module for Civic and Economic Recovery.

  • What are my available options for undertaking a placement year? 

    COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread disruption to the placement process, especially for those students planning to begin placement in 2020. Companies are uncertain as to their positions and a number of confirmed placements are being withdrawn.

    In response to these challenges the university is offering three options for those students normally undertaking a one-year placement programme:

    Option 1

    Students secure and progress to a Diploma in Professional Practice which is enabled through a minimum 24 weeks placement opportunity supported directly by an employer with enhanced flexibility for remote working and the possibility of placement being interrupted. Students will have access to LinkedIn Learning.

    *Placements should be confirmed and commenced before the 1st December 2020.

    Option 2

    Diploma Professional Practice with a Module in Civic and Economic Recovery (20 credits at Level 5). Students will do the part time Civic and Economic Recovery module in Semester 1 combined with online mentoring and completion of a subject-specific civic/economic recovery challenge. Students will complete a minimum 15 weeks professional placement in Semester 2. Enhanced flexibility for full time and part time work patterns and can be supplemented with a part time job. Students will have access to LinkedIn Learning.

    Option 3

    Diploma Professional Practice for Self Employed, this will be an extension of Diploma Professional Practice. This model is available to up to 20 students, 5 from each faculty who can spend the academic year exploring, researching and starting in business or self-employment. Each Student will:

    • be assigned an industry mentor, university mentor and alumni mentor or the 10 months.
    • Funding and business development opportunities
    • Coaching 1:1s at least once a month with the student enterprise team,
    • Have free and full access to LinkedIn Learning and have a range of workshops and development opportunities to avail of throughout the year.

    By the end of the 10 months students will have created a revenue generating asset, their own job and potentially jobs for others. While also being awarded Diploma in Professional Practice.

  • What does the Civic and Economic Recovery module entail?

    The Civic and Economic recovery module will be delivered in Semester 1 and will provide students with an opportunity to explore real world learning and work-related practice.

    The module is intended to prepare students for new world of work environments whilst developing the digital skills to lead and communicate in new and innovative ways.

    This module will also support students in developing an informed response to a current civic or economic challenge with an external organisation.

    The curated solution will allow you to apply subject specific knowledge and skills.

    Completion of the module will increase a student’s readiness for professional practice and work based or placement learning in a modern and progressive economic context.

  • What is the process for registration and enrolment for the Civic and Economic Recovery Module?

    Students engaging in this model will enrol on the Diploma Professional Practice and the Module in Civic and Economic Recovery at the start of Semester 1.

  • What if I don’t get a minimum 15 week placement?

    If you have not found a placement by the 1st December you will be required to take a Leave of Absence for Semester 2.

  • What if I get a placement longer than 15 weeks?

    The longer the placement experience the more time you have to develop the skills and experience that will equip you for your future career.

    You should try and secure a longer placement if possible, as long as the 15 week requirement is achieved.

  • What fees are applicable for the Civic & Economic Recovery Module?

    Students will be liable to pay 25% of the placement fee for Semester 1 activity. Students with a secured placement of a minimum of 15 weeks duration to commence in Semester 2 will be liable to pay the remaining placement fee.

  • What support and guidance will be available during learning?

    During the module each student will be supervised by an Employability Mentor and an Academic Supervisor from their School.

    Students will have close supervision and guidance but are progressively supported towards increased personal responsibility as the civic/ economic challenge is worked through toward final solution.

    Formative feedback will emerge from engagement with weekly module activities. The student will receive feedback provided by tutors, peers, mentors and recommended self-assessment activities/ tasks.

  • Will placements be paid or unpaid?

    Where possible students are encouraged to secure paid employment although depending on sector and experience sought this may not always be possible.

    The university encourages employers to compensate student placement employees where possible.

  • What is Linkedin Learning?

    This is an online educational platform with course videos related to your subject sector and interests. Students will be guided to recommended learning to compliment work-related learning experiences.

    Training materials will be available once you register for placement.

  • What support is being provided to students who don’t have a placement?

    Employability & Careers will be working with you and your course team to put extra resource into helping you in your search for placement.

    It’s difficult to anticipate the volume of opportunities that will become available, but the new levels of flexibility will appeal to existing and new placement partners.

    The team will help you with:

    • placement search and application
    • CV and interview
    • placement retractions
    • understanding placement offers and placement conditions
  • What will be the placement location?

    Placements may not necessarily be full-time in the workplace.

    Placements may be required to be undertaken ‘off site’ through remote working, or by undertaking a series of virtual projects/internships either individually or as part of a group.

    The University will provide ongoing support to help you to navigate this new way of working and ensure you are aware of all health and safety requirements expected of you and your employer.

  • Is it real experience if I am not onsite?

    We understand by not being onsite to do your placement you may feel you are missing out on the full work experience, however there are similarities:

    You are part of a team

    You can ask questions and receive support. You will be assigned a mentor and they will provide guidance and the resources you may require.


    You will be in daily contact with your team and supervisor using multi-channels such as email, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft team meetings, phone, etc.

    Supervisor / manager to report to

    They will work closely to mentor you to develop a good working relationship. You will learn new skills and build on your confidence in your abilities.

    Project-based work

    You may be tasked to work on a project giving you a taste of what the working world is really like. You will have the flexibility to devise your own schedule as all assignments are carried out online.

  • If the placement is onsite, will there be health & safety guidelines for the student to be made aware of by employer?

    The employer will have steps in place to ensure the duty of care to the student whilst in placement to support your health, safety and wellbeing:

    • Keep you updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace
    • Ensure social distancing is adhered to in the workplace particularly if you are in a vulnerable group. If you are in an extremely vulnerable group, you should be shielded and support to work remotely.
    • The employer will have emergency contact details for you on file
    • Ensure you are aware how to spot symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and you are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace is potentially infected and needs to take the appropriate action
    • Provide information where to obtain hand sanitiser and encourage you to wash hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • I was planning to do an international work placement, is this possible?

    We are monitoring advice and guidance issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ( which currently advises against all but essential international travel. Your health, safety and wellbeing are our primary concern. We advise you to continue with preparations but to avoid making any financial commitments. Once travel restrictions begin to ease, we can help you plan for approved international placements and internships.

    The University insurance policy is in the process of being renewed. We will update details when confirmed.

    Students intending to work abroad this academic year may be responsible for completing a risk assessment form prior to the start of their mobility. This will enable the University to assess potential risks of your mobility.

  • How can I get the most from a virtual/remote placement and sell it on my CV?
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and support from your colleagues
    • Contribute to online team meetings and networking sessions
    • Take part in any available training
    • Seek feedback and learn from it
    • Have good organisational and time management skills so that you can prioritise and complete tasks promptly

    In this current climate, taking part in a virtual/remote placement will be admirable to prospective employers.

  • How do I keep up to date with information?

    Despite the challenges presented by the ongoing restrictions, we will continue to make it possible for you to engage in your programme of study in the most meaningful and effective ways.

    We will routinely communicate with students and your placement tutor will engage with you to provide guidance.

    As we respond to the impact of COVID we are ensuring that students are fully informed of the latest official advice from the Public Health Agency (NI).

    The University remains committed to helping you achieve your potential, many services such as Student Wellbeing, Library and Careers are still available and much of the learning and teaching will be supported through digital channels such as Blackboard. The Students Union is the hub of the student community, for more information visit UUSU.