Placements


Work placements are a valuable part of your degree. They are your opportunity to explore potential career paths, gain invaluable work experience to boost your CV, develop vital transferable skills, build industry networks and get a taste for the real world of work.

You can even explore new countries by working abroad.

It is an important step in your university journey and will help you transition from a student to a young professional once you graduate.

In a competitive graduate job market, gaining work experience through a year in industry will enhance your employability and help you stand out from the crowd.

Employers seek graduates with relevant work experience because they’ve already gained broad business awareness and workplace skills which is a significant advantage.

Search placement opportunities on Handshake

Key points on placements

  • This experience is invaluable in preparing you for a successful future and career.
  • The experience, skills and networks that you build on placement will help you compete for future available graduate opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Students normally spend a year on placement however, this year we have new levels of flexibility.
  • Your placement tutor and Employability & Careers will help you plan your placement experience for 2021/22.

Routes to placement

We are delighted to offer you levels of flexibility alongside the one year placement to ensure you gain the best placement for you and achieve the Diploma in Professional Practice.

We strongly recommend that you contact your course director or placement tutor when choosing your preferred placement route.

Professional Work Placement 

In summary

  • 12month placement (minimum 25 weeks)
  • Enhanced Flexibility for full-time and part-time work
  • Combination of shorter placements
  • Placement should be secured before 1st December 2021

Details

Students’ can progress to a Diploma in Professional Practice by securing a year-long placement opportunity (minimum 25 weeks) and are supported directly by an employer. Enhanced flexibility for remote working will be accommodated if required.

Fees

You will pay £2250 for your placement year.

Once you are registered on placement you are liable for half fees which are paid in instalments between September and April.

If you commence a placement and it does not work out after a few weeks you will be given time and support to find a new placement opportunity or alternatively undertake a leave of absence.

If you take a leave of absence before 1st December, you will be liable for 25% of the placement year fee.

  • Civic & Economic Recovery Module + Professional Work Placement

    Civic and Economic Recovery Module + Professional Work Placement

    In summary

    • 20 credits level 5 module in Semester 1
    • Minimum 16 weeks professional work placement/ industry related project
    • Subject specific challenge
    • Can be supplemented with a part-time job

    Details

    Civic and Economic Recovery Module

    The Civic and Economic Recovery module will be delivered in Semester 1 and will provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to explore real world learning and work-related practice. This experience allows students to develop an informed response to a current civic or economic challenge within the context of a regional, local or global economy.  The curated solution will contribute to the development and or recovery plans for an external organisation.

    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. Students will be expected to work in teams and will co-design with group members to solve defined problems and produce creative and innovative.

    Registration

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

    Students will also complete a professional work placement (minimum of 16 weeks) in Semester 2. Enhanced flexibility for full-time and part-time work patterns can be accommodated. Students who do not secure a 16-week placement by 1st December will be required to take a leave of absence in Semester 2.

    This route can also be supplemented with a part-time job.

    Fees

    You will pay £562.50 for semester 1 (25% of placement fee) to study the module, if you secure a placement in semester 2 you will pay the remaining £1687.5, otherwise you will take a Leave of Absence for semester 2 and return to study in September 2022.

    Placement less than 16 weeks

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

    Placement longer than 16 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 16 week requirement is achieved.

    Support and guidance

    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.

  • Enterprise Placement Year

    Enterprise Placement Year

    In summary

    • Remote online learning programme
    • Develop a business idea that you will launch
    • Assigned an industry, university and alumni mentor
    • funding and business development opportunities available
    • Coaching 1:1s at least once a month

    Details

    This route is an extension of the Diploma in Professional Practice.

    It is suitable for students who wish to set up a company or social enterprise, operate as a sole trader or provide consultancy services on a freelance basis and is available for up to 20 students, 5 from each faculty.

    Students will gain the following benefits:

    • Be assigned an industry mentor, university mentor and alumni mentor for the 10 months
    • Receive initial funding and have 3 opportunities to pitch for more funding when required
    • Gain membership to the Institute of Directors, join a local accelerator and receive one-to-one coaching at least once a month with the student enterprise team
    • Get free access to a range of workshops and development opportunities throughout the year

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

    Fees

    You will pay £2250 for your placement year.

    Once you have secured an enterprise placement you are liable for half fees which are paid in instalments between September and April.

    If you commence a placement and it does not work out after a few weeks you will be given time and support to find a new placement opportunity or alternatively undertake a leave of absence.

    If you take a leave of absence before 1st December, you will be liable for 25% of the placement year fee.


Arranging a placement

It is your responsibility to secure a placement, however we are on hand to support with this and help prepare you for interview and the working environment.

Employers

You can target employers directly to find and arrange work placements through network links such as LinkedIn, alumni, business publications.

If you're arranging your own work placement, ask for the terms to be agreed in writing beforehand, as placements are not covered by employment legislation.

If you're in any doubt about the organisation or the activities, you should seek further advice from our Employability Team.

Handshake

Placement opportunities will be listed on our career platform Handshake.

It is the student’s responsibility to regularly check this platform and apply for relevant opportunities.

Students may also seek opportunities by contacting employers directly and through the use of network links such as LinkedIn, alumni and business publications.


Enrolment and registration

You will be guided by your course team and placement tutor on registering for placement, choosing the best placement route for you as well as enrolment for commencement in September.

Depending on the option selected, mode of attendance and scale of fees, liability will be applied.


Placement Location

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

Placements may need to be carried out ‘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.  At an early stage of your placement or internship experience you will need to complete your Health, Safety and Wellbeing Induction Check and return that to the University.

  • Onsite

    Onsite Placements

    The employer will have steps in place to ensure the duty of care to you 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 supported to work remotely
    • The employer will have emergency contact details for you on file
    • Ensure you are aware of 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 on where to obtain hand sanitiser and encourage you to wash hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Virtual/ Remote Placements

    Virtual/ Remote Placements

    We understand that by not being onsite for 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.
    • Communication – You will be in daily contact with your team and supervisor using multiple channels such as email, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams 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.

    Get the most from your placement

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

    To make the most of your experience:

    • 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
  • International Placements

    International Placements

    Your health, safety and wellbeing are our primary concern and we are continuing to monitoring advice and guidance issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office.

    The guidance advises against all but essential travel to certain countries.

    We advise students to continue preparations but to avoid making any financial commitments to cover flights, accommodation, insurance or payments to internship providers as circumstances can change at very short notice.


Paid and Unpaid Placements

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.


Available Support

Our team of Employability Advisors are here to support you every step of the way. Get in touch to access support for the following:

  • Placement search and applications
  • CV and interview preparation
  • Placement retractions
  • Understanding placement offers and conditions

Book your one-to-one appointment or email careers@ulster.ac.uk.

You can also access our range of digital tools to support you in applying for placement opportunities ulster.ac.uk/employability/tools.

Keep up to date

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 via the university website 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 and continue to issue and update advice and guidance on this website.

Contact your placement tutor/coordinator or alternatively email placements@ulster.ac.uk if you have any further queries regarding placement.