Work placement advice to set you on the right path

Most courses have work placements and whether you want to do them or not, so we asked students who’ve already done their’s and here’s what they said.

General Advice:

No matter what subject you do or where you have your work placement, don’t be scared. Apply for the placements that suit you and ensure you give it enough time to send emails, get replies and organise yourself.

Sculpt your environment so to use every opportunity you get. Walk in on the first day with a smile and be prepared with the knowledge you already have – this will only grow!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make mistakes and get things wrong, it’s a learning process and everyone goes through it.

At the end of the day it’s all experience, make your CV look its best, take care of your personal appearance and the rest will follow.

Put in 100% of your efforts and you will reap the rewards, you can network, build up your portfolio or experience and you could even be faced with a job offer!

Adult Nursing: Cathy Graham

“Overall, we have about 21 weeks of placement a year. The first year wasn’t really that difficult but from second year on the pressure was intense with a mix of essays and presentations and then the placement on top of that. I would just say that time management and having a social life is very important with the pressure of working 12 hour days and getting no payment for the hard work you put in. Also having a part-time job can help you save some money and you could do this during your placement and when you’re at uni! I would say that having some background knowledge in the area will benefit a student a lot and they will be a few steps ahead of themselves, if they have at least a year of experience in a nursing home or a hospital setting!”

Multimedia Journalism: Hannah Vango

“For my second year I had to complete 14 days of work experience, I was keen to do it whether compulsory or not because I know from talking to graduates and looking at perspective jobs my degree wouldn’t be enough and that experience is essential.

For me I managed to get work with a travel show, I was sent out to Taiwan for just under 3 weeks which was an amazing experience, since then I’ve filmed across Europe with the company and have even been lucky enough to get paid for a couple of trips.

My advice is to first and foremost get experience in a field you think you may want to pursue, think of it in the mindset of an employer, they want to see passion, dedication and experience as well as a degree in that field, the more specialised the better.

Whilst at your work placement ask questions, I think asking employees how they got into their profession is always worthwhile because you come a way with tips and possibly contacts and they are flattered by your interest which will put you at an advantage for any future vacancies.

Lastly my advice is don’t be afraid to make suggestions, if you think you have a good idea – go for it. Whether your idea is used or not, the employer will appreciate your contribution.”


Education Studies: Anna Woodfield

“The first placement, I had to organise myself, which was a bit of a hassle but I turned up and really enjoyed it. The placement was in order to complete my essay on an alternative education setting – after the placement I wrote up my experience – what I did, what I saw, what the children said and my overall thoughts on the trip. My advice to anyone completing this placement is to pick somewhere really fun as the more you enjoy the day the more you’ll enjoy writing about it and the better mark you’ll get. I’d also recommend to not be afraid to ask questions. It was great to work at this placement. The second placement was at a school for kids with special educational needs and was slightly harder given the nature of the children, but it was still really enjoyable. This one was organised by my lecture and all of us went to the same school. Some things that I saw made me uneasy and sad as there was one meltdown in the class and it was upsetting to see the children as they were, but all in all it was a very enjoyable experience. The teachers were lovely and the children had amazing spirit. Another piece of advice I’d give is to make sure you look at the headings in the assignments and get all the info you need for all of them (headings were things like what I thought, what the session was about etc). Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and help. Also if you have a placement for your dissertation make sure you sort it out in lots of extra time and collect more research than you need.”




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Brittany Tijou-Smith

Brittany is a third year Multimedia Journalism student, her work has been featured on KentLive and KentOnline. Her filming work also won ‘Documentary of the Year 2018’ at Canterbury Christ Church University.

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