Placements and work experience
Placements can lead to graduate jobs
Placements as part of your course
The University considers a placement as a period of assessed learning in a workplace included in a module, and you have to work in a field relevant to your course. This is because a placement aims to bridge the gap between academic study and vocational experience through practical and professional work experience.
If you are doing a placement as part of your course you must use the placement app to get your placement signed off prior to your placement start date. Your tutor will approve the placement on the placement app and Solent will send your employer an email to confirm your placement. This process is to ensure your placement is fully risk assessed and suitable for your course.
The University will support you in finding a placement but it is the responsibility of the student to source their placement and to input their details on the placement app before they start their placement.
Top tips for getting started with your placement search
- Use Solent Futures Online – we not only have a jobs board where employers upload their placement roles but also have tailored content to support Solent students with their placement and work experience searches. Find out how to use SFO to find a placement by watching this short film.
- See our FAQ page – to support you with the key information about getting a placement as part of your course.
- Have a look at our events pages - these list all our scheduled careers events. Many employers run sessions on campus or online during the academic year. Solent Futures also runs workshops to support you with finding a placement or professional work experience.
Professional work experience
Even if you do not have a placement as part of your course you can benefit from gaining professional work experience. This could be a through a Campus job or volunteering or even by working over the summer. It is never too early to start building skills and gaining experience.
The placement app must be completed and approved by both your placement tutor and your placement provider before you start your placement. Watch this short film to find out more about the app and visit the app page for more information and to submit your placement details.
Why should I complete a placement or gain professional work experience?
‘Doing a placement or internship will give you that edge and considerably better your chances of starting a career straight out of university’ Rate My Placement (2020)
Already work part-time?
Your part-time work is a valuable experience and sometimes may be approved by your unit leader to be counted as a placement. If your course includes a placement or a work-based learning unit, have a look at the placement handbook explaining much of the useful information you will need to know.
Looking for placements
It is your responsibility to secure a placement. However, help and great resources are available from Solent Futures and course teams.
Some general websites to get you started are:
- Solent Futures Online (some vacancies are exclusive to Solent University students)
- Student Ladder
If you feel you may face additional challenges or potential discrimination when seeking a placement, the equality and employment section contains a range of resources you may find useful.
Work shadowing opportunities
Work shadowing can be a good opportunity to explore career areas and expand your network. If you are doing work shadowing as part of your course you should keep the following in mind.
Work shadowing definition: informal activities where a student will spend time on company premises (including shadowing of practitioners in the field) but will have no contract or expectation of making a working contribution; it is an observation opportunity.
Work shadowing must have a proportionate continuation of good practice if the student is undertaking this as part of their course. Rather than using the full Placement App process any work placement that falls into the work shadowing placement definition above can be managed by the below agreements:
1. Confirm the company they are work shadowing with, in advance of the shadowing starting.
2. Provide evidence to their tutor that the company has public liability insurance – students can use the templated email to ask their provider for this information.
3. Read/ complete the risk profile for work shadowing make any amendments for personal circumstances and confirm to their tutor.
4. Provide their work shadowing provider with a copy of the Solent work shadowing agreement.
1. Know when their student is undertaking the work shadowing
2. Agree that it is a suitable work shadowing opportunity
3. Ensure the student has read/completed the risk profile and adjusted for their own personal situation
4. Ensure the company that the student is shadowing has public liability insurance. Students have a template to request from their work shadowing company. We have also provided a template that can be used by tutors to follow up.
Work shadowing providers taking on students must:
1. Have public liability insurance
2. Provide suitable supervision for Solent Students undertaking work shadowing
3. Provide any health and safety information to Solent students including any health and safety equipment they may need.
4. Not allow students to undertake any actions outside of the work shadowing definition during the working day.
Solent Futures has created template letters that you and/or your tutor can use when contacting employers regarding work experience.
We have also provided a risk assessment template.
Download templates here.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further information.
Health and safety
As part of its duty of care to students, the University aims to ensure your health and safety during placement. Employers are required to sign an agreement confirming their responsibilities to you while you are on placement - this includes ensuring your health and safety.
You should expect to receive health and safety information from your placement provider as part of your induction training. However if you ever have any concerns about your health, safety or wellbeing while on a placement, you should contact your tutor immediately.
It is important you fully understand the duties you will be completing and the environment you will be working in. The risk profile section of the placement app will help you to identify any potential health and safety issues you may need to consider when undertaking your work placement.
If you have found a placement outside the UK, there will be additional factors to consider. Please discuss details with your tutor or with a member of the Solent Futures team.
All UK employers are required to proved employers' liability insurance. Requirements outside the UK may differ. If you are on an overseas placement you will need to discuss employers' liability insurance with your tutor.
The University’s travel insurance policy provides comprehensive travel and emergency medical assistance for students undertaking overseas placements of up to one year. You must notify the University's insurance office in advance if your placement is longer than six months in duration. For work placements in excess of one year, you will need to purchase your own independent cover.
This is just a summary of insurance details. Please see your placement handbook and the insurance pages on the Portal for more detailed information.
The support grant is a non-repayable grant for students who are in financial hardship. Students can use this grant to help fund their placement.
Student visas and placements
If you are on a Student visa (formerly a Tier 4 visa) you can take part in a work placement if it is counted towards an assessed unit on your course and does not take more than one third or half of your course, depending on your level of study.
As your Student visa sponsor, Solent University is required to notify the Home Office if you will be carrying out a work placement. Therefore, it is essential you log your placement on the University's placement app prior to starting the placement. Failure to do so could result in your breaking the work conditions attached to your visa.
As a Student visa sponsor, the University is required to monitor the attendance of students on a Student visa while undertaking a placement and will receive regular attendance reports from your placement provider. Unexplained absences could result in the University withdrawing your Student visa sponsorship and reporting this to the Home Office, who will cancel your visa. Therefore, if you are unable to attend your placement for any reason, it is essential you let your employer know as soon as possible, and by 1pm at the very latest, on the day of absence.
Students on a Student visa are not permitted to be self-employed or engaged in business activity which includes setting up a business, being employed for a company in which they hold shares of 10 per cent or more, or holding a statutory role, such as a director.
Solent funding for unpaid work experience
Employability is at the heart of Solent University and many courses include integrated work experience to increase their students’ professional experience and graduate skills.
The majority of placement students receive an industry appropriate salary, although this is not a legal requirement.
The University aims to improve the employability of students and work experience plays a major role in this. The University does not encourage students to accept unpaid opportunities, but it acknowledges that in some circumstances unpaid experience will be key to improving skills and can lead to graduate employment.
Solent University has a fund to support students who have been offered unpaid work experience or placements. This will allow the students to gain experience they might otherwise have to turn down because of their financial situation. Not all students are eligible to apply and not all applications will be successful.
Placement information on Solent Futures Online
Does your course have a work placement element and you're not sure how the process works? Check out our detailed information page on Solent Futures Online.
Want to know how to highlight the skills you've learned on placement? Work through our programme.
Solent Futures Online has nationwide placement vacancies, including some that are exclusively advertised to Solent University students. We do not advertise vacancies that to our knowledge do not comply with Government guidance on the National Minimum Wage. Please email email@example.com if you want to raise concerns about an advertised vacancy.
Still have a question? See our FAQ page.