Published: February 11, 2019
At the University of Sunderland, depending on your course, many students have the option to undertake a placement after their second year. Whilst for some this may be compulsory, many students are given a choice of finishing university after the three years or having one more year of working full time in the industry that they are interested in.
I am studying Tourism Management and am currently in the middle of a placement year at Jurys Inn in Edinburgh, Scotland. My role includes working in the front office department, assisting with food and beverages and also learning about the sales and accounts part of the hospitality business.
I, therefore, thought it would be good to offer some insight into what to expect when taking part in a placement year and what the benefits are of doing so.
It increases your understanding and knowledge of the industry
Prior to starting my placement year, I only had experience from part-time jobs in retail and hospitality. Therefore, I had no idea of what it would be like to work full time in the industry that I am studying. By getting to experience different departments I was able to get a real insight into what a working lifestyle after university would look and feel like. Furthermore, I am now able to make a better and more informed decision about my future career path and whether or not I would like to continue working in the same area or not.
If it turns out that your placement year isn't what you were looking for, the skills and knowledge you will gain while you are there will still be invaluable and transferrable regardless of the industry you end up working in. Your commitment and ability to work in a professional environment will stand ou alongside your experience and insight.
It will boost your confidence and independence even further
It’s true that while studying at university most students will live by themselves for the first time and it is a huge step in their personal development. However, choosing to do a placement year can help even further with this, especially when it comes to financial independence and confidence. As you will be working full time, you will be able to support yourself and manage your money which can also prep you for life after graduation. Learning to problem solve and deal with issues on your own all while juggling a full-time job is the perfect insight into life outside of university.
It’s a chance to experience a new city and culture
Most companies offer placement opportunities all over the UK or even abroad which gives you the perfect opportunity to explore a different city or country. This can be a great way to meet new people and immerse yourself in a completely new culture and lifestyle, and who knows you might find your next home. In my case, I moved from Sunderland to Edinburgh and it was very interesting for me to learn more about Scottish culture and be able to visit new places. I was able to experience the city during the well-known summer festival –the Fringe and during the Winter Holidays so I got to see both sides which was incredibly fulfilling and eye-opening for me. This, alongside a job role related to my degree, gave me a great all-around experience.
A placement year can be scary, nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time but it is so worthwhile. There is so much more to get from learning on the job rather than in a lecture hall, and so many benefits to gain from the experience. I am thrilled to say that I now have direction and a future career path thanks to mine.
Topic: Advice and tips