Get help finding a placement
Finding a placement
Top tips from UWE Bristol students on how to find a placement.
When to start looking
You can begin looking for a placement from September onwards. It’s a competitive process so start your search early. Bear in mind that some larger employers recruit up to a year in advance.
Other organisations may advertise from January onwards but it makes sense to start as soon as possible as you may need to make several applications.
You must get your placement approved by the University before September. This allows time to get your placement approved and start work by September. Most placements are confirmed in spring or summer.
You can use this helpful checklist to help you with your placement journey.
How many credits you need to be able to undertake a sandwich placement
You need to have 210 credits to do a placement year. If you decide to start your placement before you receive your exam results (including resists) and do not achieve 210 credits, you will need to make an appointment with a Student Advisor to discuss your options.
Please note credits must be achieved in years 1 and 2. Foundation year credits are not considered.
What kind of roles to apply for
The placement should be relevant to your programme of study and enable you to meet the learning objectives of your placement module. Details about placement requirements are included on the programme and module databases.
Individual roles will vary and should be discussed and agreed between you and the employer.
If a role you are applying for is not officially advertised as a sandwich or short term placement, do check with the employer if they are happy for you to use it as a placement. This is important as they will be asked during the placement confirmation process to complete a short risk assessment and Health and Safety Agreement.
If the employer wishes to discuss this with the University they can email the Placement team at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or arrange a phone call.
Does the placement need to be paid
Placements are usually (but not always) paid and are assessed by the University as part of the programme of study. For any unpaid or low-paid placements, we take into consideration any expenses you'll be paid, living costs and personal savings.
Please note that all students under the College of Business and Law must undertake a paid placement.
How long is a placement
Placements can take place at different points depending on the requirements of your programme and can vary in length from just a few days to a full academic year.
Sandwich placements vary between programmes but tend to be between 26 and 40 weeks. Please check requirements with your programme or placement module leader. Where offered, sandwich placements generally take place between years 2 and 3 and lead to the award of a sandwich degree.
Where to look for vacancies
Prospects ‘What can I do with my degree’ page can give you inspiration for the type of role you may want to work in. Keep your options open and focus your search on finding a role that suits you.
You can also approach an employer speculatively to see if they would recruit you using our speculative letter which can be adapted for your prospective employer. View the list of example placements to see where other students have been placed previously (see 'The Direct Approach').
Below are some other useful resources to help you find and apply for placements:
- The Careers drop-ins and appointments (our Careers Team are here to speak with you, whether you have a quick question, or need more in depth support)
- The Career Toolkit (a resource to assist in writing applications and attending interviews)
- The Careers Essentials workshops and Placement events.
It is your responsibility to secure an appropriate placement but there is plenty of help available.
Help with your CV
We have all the resources you will need to build a great CV. Whether you're on your final draft, or if you've never written a CV before, our CV Cycle document will point you in the direction of the best resources for you
Our CV360 tool provides great artificial intelligence feedback on your CV, as well as a comprehensive report and score. It also gives you the chance to have your CV reviewed by one of our UWE Bristol Career Coaches once you score 75%+ on CV360.
Get further support from our Careers Team at one of our careers drop-ins or appointment services.
You’ll need to:
- have a well-formed idea of a business you want to set up. This means having a basic business plan in place and research to show there is a market for your product or service. (There are lots of enterprise resources to help you develop your idea.)
- demonstrate how you will be able to support yourself financially during the placement year. (As you won’t receive as much student loan and may not earn an income from your business in the beginning.)
- be proactive in accessing support available from UWE Bristol while you are working on your idea. (There is lots of training and help available via the Enterprise Team who run Student Ventures and offer the Ignite Programme, but it requires you to engage with it. Essentially, you get as much out of the placement as you put in.)
- complete coursework.
Deadline for finding and confirming a placement
You’ll need to have found a placement before term begins in September to allow you time to register with UWE Bristol, get your placement approved and start work by September.
Please note, placement approval can take anywhere between 2-6 weeks, so it’s essential that you notify us as early as possible.
Please talk to the Placement Team if you’ve got any concerns about meeting these deadlines.
When can my placement start from?
You can start your sandwich placement after your second year of study is complete. As a general guide, we recommend starting your sandwich placement after exams in May if your employer can accommodate this. (Exam dates will depend on your course.)
Finding placements abroad
Find placement vacancies abroad and schemes run through UWE Bristol.
All overseas placements are risk assessed on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the transport, medical and communications infrastructure of a country, as well as the student’s financial circumstances during the placement.
If the student is participating in any activities that are deemed risky, the host organisation will be expected to provide a full risk assessment.
When assessing risk, we review the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCDO) Travel Advice and Drum Cussac risk rating, alongside our own internal risk assessment.
Students can access FCDO information on the gov.uk website and obtain Drum Cussac access to review a country’s risk ratings themselves. Placements abroad will not be approved if any of the following apply to a country:
- FCDO advise ‘no travel’ or ‘all but essential travel’ (also applies to any countries or regions the student will visit or transit though).
- Drum Cussac rate the Conflict/Terrorism/Criminality Risk as ‘High’ or ‘Extreme’.
For countries that have ‘high medical’ risk on Drum Cussac, the student will need to show that any risks can be mitigated.
International student placements
As an international student you bring a unique set of skills and cultural perspectives, which are valued by many UK employers.
Talk to a UWE Bristol Immigration Adviser before you start applying. They will help you understand what you need to do, as there are some visa requirements. Please read our visa work placements advice.
Students are at risk of breeching their visa terms if they fail to update the Placement team on any changes that take place to their placement - including start and end date, placement location and contact details. If you fail to do this your visa may be removed. If you have any questions about this, please contact the immigration advice team.
I've changed my mind about a placement year and want to go into my third year, what do I do?
If you have changed you mind and decided that you don't want to undertake a sandwich placement anymore, please get in touch with a Student Support Adviser to discuss your options.
Getting help with reasonable adjustments on placement
If you have a disability and/or an adjustment need in the workplace or in accessing a placement, you can receive support from the Career Coaching service. You may want to discuss the following topics:
- How to share information with your employer about your disability or support needs.
- Information about adjustments that your employer could make to support you to work comfortably and thrive in the workplace.
- How to navigate workplace cultures with a disability and or/adjustment needs.
- Discuss the government's Access To Work scheme which can help you with in-work support and funding.
To make a Career Coaching appointment please email email@example.com.