By Cloe Grampa

More and more employers require experience in the industry as well as qualifications, so how does the University of Sussex help its students to be their most successful selves?

If you are an undergraduate student, you have the opportunity to do a year in the industry while being fully supported by the university network. This is an incredible opportunity to explore the working world in a safe environment, to help you figure out what is it that you want or don’t want to do. So, how do you approach a year in your industry of choice?

For starters, the Career and Employability Centre at the university will provide you with all the information you need to undertake a placement year. If you are interested in undertaking a year in the industry, you will have to complete the Placement Interest Form which will introduce you to the Placement Preparation Programme (PPP). The programme is composed by workshops, meetings with possible employers, and with placements officers as well as guided placements search sessions. You will be able to apply for placements in the UK, EU and other overseas destinations.

The placement lasts one academic year and you will be able to pay a reduced fee. At the same time, most placements are paid, which is a great incentive.

Still unsure if this is the right path for you? A year in the industry while still being enrolled in university is a safe way to gain experience and enhance your CV while being fully supported by the placement team. The skills you will gain will allow you to be put ahead in the competition because you will already have some experience in the field as well as a degree at the end of your time at university. A year in the industry offers you the opportunity to consolidate the academic skills you have acquired, and also take a break from university life before going back and finishing your studies. Work experience will give you a better understanding of yourself and your career path as well as helping you grow as a person.

There are not many down sides about doing a placement year but there are a few things you might want to keep in mind. For example, you will no longer be in the same classes with the friends you made in first year because they will graduate before you. This is not a complete downfall; although it could make you feel a little bit sad, you will surely make more friends once you get back to university. Another thing to consider is the possibility that you will not like your placement opportunity- it’s a different sort of environment and, if you wind up doing something that you don’t enjoy then you might find yourself wishing you hadn’t bothered- so pick wisely and do your research!

Whether or not a placement year is the right choice for you it is always good to know that you have the opportunity and that the support is there to help you make the most out of your time at university.

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