We all know that graduate employability is always on our minds at university and the topic can certainly stress us out. After all, we all came to university to be well equipped for the big wide world. Here are 5 reasons why I think doing a placement year is beneficial for you.

1. You put theory into Practice

10 minutes into the lecture…
Placement provides you with the opportunity to apply what you have learnt to real-world problems. From market segmentation to Fourier analysis (Second theory I have no clue about – I just googled something engineering related…), what you are taught can be applied to your job role. Practical experience in the industry you wish to work in is invaluable as you don’t really know what the job entails until you have been working in the role.

2. You’ll go on to Achieve Higher Grades

Come again.
Yep that’s right. Research from Aston Business School shows that if a student does a placement they improve their performance with their final exams by approximately 5%, meaning you will be a lot more engaged in your work once you arrive at final year. You probably will have lost the art of procrastination and become a pro at to-do lists.

Assuming you are already a pro at to-do lists… Sometimes I write “drink coffee” on my list, just so I feel like I accomplished something in a day.

3. You Graduate with an Entirely new Skill Set

Time management, team-working, communication and working to deadlines are common skills that you will acquire when you come back from placement. As well as ‘soft’ skills’, you’ll also gain specific technical skills on the job which help you better understand how a particular department is structured and how it operates to survive commercially.

4. You’ll Grow Your Professional Network

Ever heard of ‘it’s not about what you know, but who you know’? This is true in the working world. On placement, you’re able to network and establish relationships with professionals in your field. The right connections can open doors with some amazing opportunities behind them, it’s important to foster connections throughout your placement year as they can be useful for anything, from future job vacancies or references for your CV.

I would recommend setting up a profile on LinkedIn, it’s a great platform to keep in touch with your contacts and also provides a space to showcase your skills and abilities, it works just like a CV, just more interactive and ‘social’!

5. It’s a way to Test out the Job and Career Path

university placement fail meme

Placements are a low-commitment way to test out your chosen career path. Many don’t find out what a job really entails until they get some work experience. According to recent research, only 27% of graduates are working in a job that relates to their degree. The year in industry is the opportunity to find out if the job is really suited to you and help identify what you liked/disliked, so when you come round to graduating, you can make better decisions. 

So there you have it, 5 reasons why taking a university placement is a good idea. You’ll affirm the knowledge you have learnt and put it into practice, whilst working in a professional, team-based environment where you’ll develop soft and technical skills and build your network. For more information about placement opportunities at Aston University, head over to the Careers & Placements site.