The Silver Linings of Flexible Placements

AbbySecond Year

The world we currently live in has seen us have to consider alternative options when it comes to our careers. Many of us have had to adapt to new ways of working, graduates have been grappling with an unsettled employment market, and for second years, the dream of completing a 12-month placement at that amazing company might be slipping away.

In its place, is a range of flexible placement options. And while you might hold onto that original placement dream, it’s worth noting that there are some silver linings to the flexible placement scheme. Some that you perhaps might not have considered.

In an ideal world, your placement would last a full 48 weeks. But if you can only secure one that lasts 20 weeks (the minimum), you’ll have the benefit of a few months of work experience when you graduate, plus some additional time to try other things. You could boost your CV with some online courses, get involved in some Covid-friendly volunteering activities that give back to the community, or take up a part-time job to get even more experience.

You can also do multiple placements of 5 weeks each that add up to 20 weeks. It might be a bit more higgledy-piggledy than one 12-month placement, but think of the experience you’ll get. Each and every organisation is different – different people, different cultures, different ways of working, different roles and different responsibilities. The more experience you get, the more you’ll have an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what you might like to do in the future. You’ll also have a lot to talk about in interviews after you graduate!

Online courses either through Aston University or other accrediting bodies are an option you could explore for your placement year. This isn’t usually an available avenue, but it’s a great way for you to get some additional training, learn new skills, and give your CV an upgrade.

Remote placements are another new option that wouldn’t have been possible before. The ability to work for a company from the comfort of your home opens up a world of opportunities for you. You no longer have to move half way across the country to work for that fantastic London-based tech firm you’ve had your eye on. You can get really valuable experience while enjoying the benefits that remote-working affords (close proximity to your parents’ fancy coffee machine, for example). Careers+Placements placement student, Alba, is currently working with us remotely from Spain. I know which country I’d rather be in when summer rolls around…

As long as you can demonstrate that it would develop your skills, you could also join the family business. Taking on projects that add value your family, working alongside them and all the while developing your skills, could actually be a great opportunity for you.

If you take a part-time or volunteering role as a Key Worker, not only will you be adding valuable experience to your CV, you’ll also be having a positive impact on your local community. Whether it’s caring for people in a nursing home, helping out as a Covid-19 vaccination programme volunteer, or working on the shop floor of a supermarket, you’ll be developing your skills and giving back to society during these difficult times.

The worldwide pandemic has thrown a lot of challenges our way, but there are silver linings, if you choose to look for them.

Don’t forget we have a team of friendly Placement Coordinators who are here to support you with your search. They can go through the flexible placement options with you, run mock interviews, help you with applications, review CVs and cover letters, and help to match your skills to opportunities. You can book an appointment on Aston Futures, or email your college inbox:

Written by Abby Sweeting, Careers+Placements