Now a day’s more and more people are attending university. In the early sixties, only one in twenty school leavers went to university, today it is one in three (source: courses-careers.com).This suggests that although a degree is hugely beneficial, it is not something that is guaranteed to make a person stand out in a job application. Therefore as a student it is also beneficial to differentiate yourself in other ways to help land that dream job.
Completing an industrial placement could be one way of making a student stand out. If a student has a complete year’s work experience from doing the industrial placement, especially if it’s in the same field, it is likely to be something other candidates cannot match. Another benefit is that whilst on placement students are likely to gain valuable contacts which may help them in their job search after university. The company they do their placement with may even end up being the company they wish to go back to after finishing university.
A further benefit of completing an industrial placement as a student is that it gives you the opportunity to almost test run your chosen career. A student is likely to have a career path planned for when they leave university. An industrial placement gives a student the chance to get a head start on this career path, also allowing them to either gain confidence in the career path being the best direction for them to head in, or allowing them to edit their career path after the year if it turned out not to be the best direction for them.
Not only will the industrial placement help make a student stand out against other candidates when applying for jobs after university, it is also likely to help the student in their final year of university after returning from their placement. It may allow them to bring a fresh real life angle to their dissertation, or it may support the knowledge they learn in modules through recognition of a similar experience they may have had whilst on placement.
Many student gain shorter period of work experience such as summer placements or placements over holidays, although this is also valuable, the industrial placement is ideal as it will often allow a student to gain much more depth and breadth of experience and knowledge than a shorter placement would.
A final benefit of completing an industrial placement is that it allows a student to gain experience in applying for jobs and attending interviews. A valuable life skill to gain. Meaning that when the student finishes university and starts their job hunt they will already have experience in the job hunt process, giving them a further advantage over students who haven’t completed a placement and have little experience of applying for job.
By Loretta Snape, currently on industrial placement with PPS.