12 things you should know about placements

AbbyAdvice, First Year, Second Year

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re interested in finding out a little bit more about placements. Perhaps you’re a first year getting a head start, or maybe you’re a second year getting cracking with your search. Either way, we hope you find this post useful!

  1. You can start applying anytime!
    There are already lots of live vacancies for the 2021/22 placement year, so there’s no time like the present to start applying. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the big-name companies have deadlines before Christmas, so if you’d like to work for a large company, it’s time to put on your searching hat so that you don’t miss out!

  2. There will be roles advertised after the Christmas break
    While we encourage you start looking and applying early, we’d like to reassure you that there will also be roles advertised after Christmas, too. So if you don’t get something in 2020, don’t fret – there’ll be more opportunities in 2021.

  3. There are lots of places where you can look for placements
    The first place we suggest is Aston Futures – our very own online portal where you can find placements, graduate jobs, internships, part-time jobs and volunteering opportunities. Log in using your usual student login details. You might also like to check out RateMyPlacement, TARGETjobs, Gradcracker, LinkedIn, The Year in Industry (YINI) and Prospects.

  4. You can find a placement through family or friends
    Some of our students find placements through the people that they know. All we ask is that you send us a copy of the Job Description so that we can check it and get it approved as a placement.

  5. You’ve got a Placement Cheerleader!
    Okay, so they’re not actually Placement Cheerleaders, but the Placement Coordinators will be with you every step of the way, supporting you with your search and cheering you on. Our dedicated placements team can help you to devise action plans, offer advice on CVs, cover letters and applications, and do mock interviews with you. It’s really important that you engage with the team. Very important. You can book 1-to-1 appointments with the Placement Coordinators through Aston Futures, or email your college placement team at bssplacements@aston.ac.uk, epsplacements@aston.ac.uk, or hlsplacements@aston.ac.uk

  6. You have lots of options
    There are lots of ways your placement could take shape. You might like to spend a full year in one company, or you might prefer to do two or three shorter placements. Perhaps you like the sound of studying at a university in another country for a semester, or setting up a business! Speak to the Placement Coordinators if you’d like to discuss your options.

  7. You can do a placement that isn’t related to your degree
    If you’d like to do something that’s related to your degree, go ahead! But you don’t have to. You could use it as an opportunity to try something completely different! Remember that whichever area you choose, you will come out of your placement year with new transferable skills such as communication, project management or leadership, and these will all help with any other roles you might have further down the line.

  8. There are lots of resources to help you with your placement search on the C+P website
    Over on our website, you’ll find tips for writing a winning, professional CV; what to include in your cover letter; a guide for setting up your LinkedIn account; guidelines for completing application forms; software to help you practise your interview technique; interview advice; sample interview questions; psychometric practise tests and tips; and advice for handling competency-based questions.

  9. You could go abroad (depending on worldwide restrictions)
    Some of our students have the option of going abroad for part or all of their placement. Covid-19 has had a big impact on this, but at the moment, we hope that some of you will be able to go overseas. You could study abroad at one of our partner universities, or you could do a work placement. If you’re interested in an international placement, keep an eye out for international opportunities on Aston Futures. Just bear in mind that your placement might get cancelled or delayed depending on travel advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

  10. You could set up your own business!
    With the help of BSEEN, you could set up a business for your placement year, or run an existing one. You need to have a viable business idea that’s well thought out. Consider if there’s a gap in the market, and if you’ve got the determination and motivation to make it a success! You can find out more about enterprise placements here.

  11. You will develop your skills
    Whether it’s soft skills like adaptability, professional skills like leadership, or technical skills like coding, the chances are you will develop your skills while you’re away on placement, and end it being an even better version of yourself.

  12. It’s a year that will change your life
    When our students come back in final year, they often say that the placement changed their life. It might be that it’s made them even more motivated to work hard in final year and then get an amazing graduate job after Aston. Sometimes it’s made them completely re-consider what they’d like to do with their career. A lot of students make friends for life, particularly when going abroad. One thing’s for sure – when you step out of your comfort zone, exciting things can happen…

    Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash