3 Things I’ve Learnt on Placement

Megan WilliamsMegan Williams, On Placement, Second Year, UK Placements

3 Things I’ve Learnt on Placement

Be Organised

When you begin your placement year it may seem as though your life has been spun upside down. Your priorities quickly change and it can be difficult to not only organise your work life but your personal life too. The golden tip for this is to get a DIARY! This may sound like a cliché, however it is a fact that must be faced; a diary helps! I do not know how I would have kept on top of everything during my placement year without a diary, my diary allowed me to clearly highlight work commitments and personal plans. That’s right, placement year isn’t all about work. Enjoy the extra income, enjoy your new city/country, build new friendships, but don’t forget to…

Make time for yourself! Your days will inevitably be longer, and you will be busy. The transition from university life to working life can be tough; it is likely you will face some challenges, it is important to take time out on your weekends/days off and make time for family and friends. Plan things that will help you to relax, that you enjoy and help you to refresh ready for the next working week.

Be Resilient

Everyone’s placement year experience is different. But the likelihood is everyone will face some type of challenge along the way; whether that’s moving to a different country, getting used to the long days, or the workload. The key to your placement year is to be resilient. You may have days that are repetitive, where there is little work and you are bored. Although you may not be getting the chance to experience different areas of work, you are still getting the most important thing: 12 months’ work experience. You will be collecting your degree with thousands of other people nationwide and the thing that is going to help you stand out is your placement year. So whether you are bored or finding the workload heavy just remember that by completing those twelve months you are getting a golden ticket that will open so many more doors for you.

A few tips:

If you have little work and are bored: If you don’t feel like you are getting that much out of your placement year and wish to broaden your daily tasks, speak to your line manager. Your line manager may not be giving you a lot of work, as they may not want to over-pressure you, so try having a chat with them and explaining that you now feel confident completing the tasks you are given and wish to extend your responsibilities. You have nothing to lose, go for it!

If you are struggling with a high workload: If you have a high workload this most likely is a positive thing. Your line manager obviously feels as if you can handle the responsibilities given. It is good to have a high amount of responsibilities/experiences as these can all be included on your Graduate CV. The first thing to do is to try and increase your organisational skills. Use your diary/calendar and set out specific time scales for each task. If your manager asks you to complete additional tasks, prioritise! However, if the workload is becoming too much and is starting to effect the quality of your work ask to speak to your line manager. It is likely that your line manager will help to ease your workload. If in time you are finding that you are becoming quicker at completing tasks you can always ask to later increase your responsibilities or help others.


Placement year is a good opportunity to network. Employers will often offer students a graduate opportunity if they perform well during their placement year. When recruiting, the recruitment manager will look for someone that will ‘fit with the team’, it is important to socialise with the team that you are in and if possible the wider department. By ‘socialise’ I don’t mean taking 10 desk breaks a day, however, if you see a colleague always say hello, if somebody has been on holiday ask if they’ve had a nice holiday. It’s as simple as that!