From the student perspective, high quality placements can bring a range of benefits and positive impacts. There is strong evidence to suggest that placements and work experience are extremely valuable to students, both in terms of their academic performance and their employability skills.
Placements give students the opportunity to gain skills specific to their subject or industry of choice as well as the employability skills required for real-life work. It also increases their knowledge of an industry or sector, allowing them to make better informed decisions about future career choices. It also provides the opportunity to be involved in team-based working, which provides a welcome contrast to the typically more individual-centric approach taken to academic study. This kind of experience is beneficial, and builds on the self-management and problem solving skills typically gained at university, with the ability to work collaboratively.
A clear beneficial output for students from undertaking a placement is the ability to effectively evidence their experiences on their CV, providing documented contextual proof for their skills and abilities, coupled with a reference. Placements can also provide useful examples to use in competency based job applications or interviews.
A placement completion can sometimes lead directly to subsequent employment with the same employer following graduation. It can be “a foot in the door” that could lead to a temporary or permanent contract.
Interaction with other professionals while on placement can also bring strong benefits in terms of networking. For example, engaging with professionals in their chosen career-field can provide a foundation of contacts on which to build and draw upon in a future career.