What Is a Work Placement?
A work placement for students refers to a monitored or supervised work schedule in an organisation. It allows students to experience the real-time “job” in a company.
Almost always, an employer seeking to fill a vacant post for a particular job, asks for “experience,” apart from the required qualifications.
Finding that perfect job just after graduation can be difficult for students without work experience. That is why we stress the importance of work placements for students.
Importance of Placements for Students
While the benefits of doing a work placement are many, one of the main advantages is that it develops skills and builds confidence. A work placement is a great way to gain experience in a particular field.
12 Importance of Work Placement for Students:
1. Applies Theory to Practice
Work placement allows students to have a real-time experience of the job at hand. At times, what is taught in theory in a school or university may not be the same as a real-life experience.
For example, a textbook may teach you theoretically, how to build a box. However, the experience lies in actually building the box.
The wood pieces, the measurements, the cutting and sawing, the nailing, and hammering. All these fundamentals are learned only through hands-on experience.
It is this experience that employers seek. Work placement allows you to apply theory to practice.
2. Develops Skill
Being competent in a particular skill is one of the foremost qualities an employer looks for. A work placement trains you to develop these skills.
If an employer sees that you have work placement experience on your CV it may give you a competitive edge over another person having the same qualifications as you.
A work placement in an organisation may not give you complete power or control over the job. However, the experience and skill that you gain from the job, will be an advantage when applying for a full-time position in a company.
3. Insight Into the Workplace
A work placement gives you an actual insight into the working of an organisation. For example, a student of law will be able to learn the working of a courtroom only by visiting a courtroom and experiencing its functioning.
A book in a classroom will be able to describe a general scene in a court and how it should ideally function. However, the actual functioning of a courtroom may differ vastly from a text book description.
4. Feel of The Organisation
From work placements, you can get a feel of the organisation and consequentially decide if the work fits your skill. Often, students are disheartened and disillusioned with jobs after committing years of study to the course.
When you do a work placement, it gives you a peek into the industry. A work placement is not a bond of commitment to the organisation. It is a temporary commitment to work on a placement basis.
Your experience in a work placement allows you to refine your skills and thereby look for the perfect job at a later date when applying for actual employment.
Work placements allow you to discover different careers earlier on.
5. Building Contacts
Another importance of work placements is that it allows you to meet people and build contacts. Doing a work placement in an organisation introduces you to infinite people within and outside of the organisation.
Some of these new contacts may even be able to help you start a career at a later point.
If you are lucky you may even find a like-minded person who is more than eager to start a new venture with you. It may be the birth of a start-up venture.
Meeting new people, learning, and adopting new ideas is another advantage of work placement for students
6. Good References
Just like building contacts, work placements also allow you to build good references for future career options.
Proving your self-worth in placements may attract the eye of influential people. Therefore, such influential people may recommend or refer you to others for a better job.
7. Opportunity to Convert a Work Placement Into a Real Full-Time Job
Establishing your worth in an organisation can also lead you to get hired permanently by the same company. Performing assigned tasks well in a work placement can impress the management.
They may even offer to hire you on a permanent job basis after your placement period is complete. This saves you from the task of applying for a job later on.
8. Earn During Placements
Although many work placements are unpaid, several organisations pay students a small allowance. However, such allowances may be small and may vary according to every organisation.
It is not mandatory for companies to pay students during a work placement. Although some companies may have different policies for stipends for students during work placements. Many organisations do pay students during work placements.
9. Upgrade Your CV
Doing a work placement can impress an employer looking for “experience”. A work placement gives you practical knowledge of the industry.
Employers sometimes prefer to employ people who have this practical knowledge. Updating your CV with a work placement experience is definitely an added advantage. Therefore, the importance of job placements cannot be undermined.
10. Improves Confidence
Doing a work placement definitely improves your confidence. The work atmosphere provides you that which a classroom can not do.
Practically performing a task in a work placement gives you the boost of confidence required to face an actual job. Facing an interview also becomes easier if you have experience in a work placement.
11. Develops a Sense of Responsibility
Working in a job placement grooms you for a brighter career. A work placement teaches you responsibility and teamwork much before you experience the real thing out there. It prepares you for the challenges that a real work experience may throw at you later.
12. Introduction to Varied Jobs
The type of work you will be introduced to during a work placement may or may not be what you are qualified to do.
A company that hires you for a work placement may offer you a job that satisfies your qualification. Or, you may be introduced to other work from other departments.
This allows you to explore the different types of job opportunities available in a single organisation.
How Do You Find a Work Placement for Yourself?
You can directly contact a company you are interested in and submit your credentials. The company may get back to you if they have a work placement position that they think is suitable for you.
Also, with the internet taking most of our lives, needless to say, work placements can be found over the internet too nowadays. Some websites provide a link between employers and students.
They provide information on available job placements and other such information. For information on currently available job placements, you can refer to the following websites among others
Typically, How Long Is a Placement?
A placement can vary from one week to three months and even to a year. This depends on the organisation or the terms of the company.
Some companies absorb students during summer vacations. Such placements may last for the entire vacation period.
Apart from the above information on work placements, the importance of placements for students can be seen in the competitive edge it provides over peers.
Work placements allow you to discover your own potential and make you realise your shortcomings.
Realising your shortcomings early on in your work life helps you to improve and refine your skills. This leads to a better career in the long run.