In addition to summer internships many employers offer industrial placements. A placement is a period of structured work experience with an employer. Industrial placements are often referred to as “a year in industry” or “sandwich placement” as they are “sandwiched” between your penultimate and final year of study.
It is important to note that there is not an official 'Year in Industry' degree programme, as such. Taking an industrial placement will interrupt your studies and whilst gaining 12 months work experience will be very valuable, there will be complications around student loans and fees etc. Students should speak with Louise Walker for further information.
Placements last between 9-14 months and run from July, August or September through to the following summer. They tend to be arranged 6-12 months in advance although vacancies can be advertised as little as two weeks before the start date.
Most placements are paid and you should expect to earn an annual salary of £13,000-19,000 p.a. pro rata. Placements are full-time roles and you will be regarded as a full employee of the organisation. In most cases you will receive access to standard employee benefits offered by the employer such as holiday allowance, private health care etc.
Information from graduate employers indicates that, when recruiting, they look very favourably upon applicants who have spent a year in industry. Undertaking a placement may therefore help you to get an early graduate job offer, as most employers use placements as a way to spot talented students.
A 12-month placement may be the only way of getting work experience with a particular employer or in a particular area of work. Due to high training costs or the specialist nature of the work the employer cannot offer a shorter summer internship. This is quite common for Research and Development roles plus a variety of other technical roles.
Industrial placements may also provide other benefits such as;
- Giving you an opportunity to a build strong relationship with an employer and gain industry insight.
- Providing experience in a corporate/research environment and insight into your chosen career path/sector
- Putting your academic learning into context by using it in a real-life situation
- Helping you gain confidence in your abilities and skills
As the placement year is not a mandatory course requirement you are able to apply for any role which is of interest and for which your skills and academic background meets the recruiter’s person or role specification. Many will be open to Mathematics students. Roles could, for example, involve information technology, market research or analysis, finance, business, logistics or research.
All placements will give you a challenging experience, whether it is a project-based placement or a specific role you would be undertaking. Some employers will require you to complete a project, which will involve undertaking research which culminates in a report, and often you will be required to present this to senior staff within the organisation.
The role may require extensive use of mathematics or you may predominately need to use skills common to your degree such as logical thinking, numeracy and problem solving.
Placements are advertised via the Careers Service’s student and graduate jobs portal, CareersLink. Placements for mathematics students are streamed to this page; log in using your University username and password.
You can also search for placements on employer websites. Guides such as “The Times Top 100 Graduate employers” and TARGETjobs “Get Directory” (available from Careers Service, 1st floor, The Atrium, University Place) can be used to assist you research.
Once you have secured a placement you simply need to inform the School of Mathematics that you wish to interrupt your studies for a year. You won’t have to pay student fees during your placement year. Please speak to Louise Walker for further information about interrupting your studies.