What to Expect from Students on Industry Placements
T Levels are full-time, two-year qualifications for 16 to 18-year-olds in England. They attract bright, ambitious young people who are already interested in a career. Students make a choice of studying the T Level that prepares them best for jobs in their chosen industry.
T Levels are broadly equivalent to three A Levels, so students who wish to can go on to university afterwards and gain even higher-level skills and knowledge.
Industry placements are incredibly important to young people who choose T Levels. Working in an organisation like yours means they get to put their skills into practice in real life. They learn other things too like how to work in teams and communicate with others, where to go for help, and how to develop general employability skills. They become more confident and very quickly start to make a real contribution to the business.
Thousands of employers already host students on placements. They have an overwhelmingly positive opinion of the young people they welcome into their workplace. This resource shows why employers value their students so much. And if you’ve never had a student on a placement before, it will give you confidence that it’s the right thing to do.
Who this resource is for
- Employers who are wondering what it’s like to host a student on an industry placement.
- Managers who may be involved in planning placements with providers.
- Staff who support students during their placements.
About the resource
This resource shows what T Level students are like, how they see their placements, and why employers benefit from hosting them.
- A video featuring students on industry placements in a wide range of employers.
- Short quotes of students saying why they feel so positive about their placement experience and host organisation.
- Short quotes of employers saying why they feel so positive about the students they host.
- A checklist of what you can expect from students as a host employer.
- A downloadable template for a person specification showing what you want from a student applying to a placement in your organisation.
You can use it to:
- Remind yourself of all the good reasons for wanting to host a T Level student;
- Show other people in the organisation why it’s such a good thing;
- Be clear about what you expect from a student coming on a placement in your business;
- Help you choose a student who’s right for you.
Videos – What to expect from students
These short videos share the real experience of hosting T Level students on industry placements, so that more employers can develop the know-how and confidence to host students themselves.
They are aimed at employers who are:
- Thinking about offering an industry placement for the first time
- Offering placements already and planning to host more students in future.
Watch the videos to see what T Level students are like, how they feel about their placements, and where they’re planning to go afterwards. There are five videos. Click on the first to watch them all straight through without a break, or click on each one to watch it separately:
- What to expect from students on industry placements
- Working for real
- Hands-on learning
- Up for a challenge
- Looking forward.
How students feel
These short quotes by students show how their industry placements help them to:
- Cope with the pressure of real work
- Learn through experience
- Decide on their future career.
Coping with the pressure of real work
“I was given a lot of work to complete within a week. So rather than stressing out I created a detailed schedule that allowed me to complete all the tasks on time. I actually find now that I do my best work under pressure. I enjoy challenging tasks and finding creative solutions.” Business administration student
“I was given quite a lot of responsibility and I felt quite daunted at the start of the placement. It was the run-up to Christmas and the kitchen where I worked was very pressured. A member of the team took me under her wing, and I also worked with four other chefs. It made me more confident in working at a fast pace and in different teams.” Hospitality student
Learning through experience
“You learn a lot more being onsite and doing hands-on stuff. It shows you the reality of things and opens your eyes to new doors. I’ve got to know the people I’m working with better, so I know what I’ll be going into if I go back and work for them full-time.” Construction student
“I’ve learned so much when I’ve been here. Even in a year I’ve seen so much development in myself. If I didn’t have the placement I wouldn’t be this confident.” Early years education student
“I started my placement just editing a lot of audio, but then I discussed the kind of things I’m more interested in with my supervisor and now I’ve been given tasks I feel I can excel at such as creating playlists. My supervisor treats me like an adult which I really appreciate. I had a lot of skills to start with and now I’m improving them, so it’s useful and relevant for my career goal of working in music composition. It’s been good for me.” Creative and design student
Deciding on a future career
“It has made me realise what I want to do in the future. It’s kind of like a dream job I never knew I really wanted. And it really does help you see what the real world is like.” Animal care student
“I was indecisive in the beginning. But after I did the placement, I knew what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. I’d definitely do it again if I had the chance.” Science student
How employers feel
These short quotes from employers indicate what you can expect when you host a placement student yourself.
Students bring a new perspective
“They are a fresh pair of eyes. When our staff explain why they undertake tasks as they do, this enables them to reflect on and improve their own working practices.”
“Fresh legs in the kitchen, young blood, fresh ideas, brand new energy. There’s nothing better than teaching a brand-new student who’s keen to learn.”
“Our placement student has created a new dynamic. Adding them to the team has helped to create a new energy and open-mindedness.”
Students are valued and productive team members
“After a short time, they start to do a job themselves. They participate and are of use in the departments, actually manufacturing things.”
“There’s a quite a wide variety of things we do and we get the students involved in all of them, pretty much from day one.”
“The contribution that the T Level students have had on the site team has been invaluable.”
“We want them to see exactly how it is, so they get involved with everything the team’s working on.”
Students are high-performing and motivated
“They perform well for us. Every now and then you find one who is gold!”
“We can rely on the skills of our industry placement participants and we’re confident now that that they can contribute to the business.”
“They are well motivated and have a positive outlook which makes them able to be responsive in the workplace. They show curiosity and make the most of the opportunities they are being given.”
“We know as a business that we’re getting people who are keen, enthusiastic about the industry they’re coming into, people who want to be working in it.”
The work students do has an impact
“We value having the input from young people about our organisation and its products and services. It’s helped us to generate improvements and attract a younger market.”
“We developed some projects and let the students work on things that we would not have been able to do otherwise.”
“I said to my student, ‘We’ve got some software, we’ve never used it before, maybe you can show me how to use it?".
Students are the future
“As far as we’re concerned, this is our route to growth. It’s a continued pattern now and one we’d like to keep and evolve with.”
“They’re the kind of people we want, willing to learn, wanting to learn, coming into the industry at the beginning of their career.”
“They are the future, that’s what it’s all about.”
Checklist – What to expect from students
This is a reminder of what you should expect in a student’s attitude, behaviour and learning. Use it when you’re thinking about what’s most important to you and when selecting the right student for your placement.
|Aspect||What to expect from your student||Y/N|
|Attitude||Has a positive attitude and approach to work|
|Is interested in our organisation and the work we do|
|Respects our requirements|
|Is ready to take responsibility and take the initiative|
|Takes part in working life and the work community|
|Performs as well as possible|
|Is well-organised and reliable|
|Is punctual when attending placement|
|Follows safety and health guidelines|
|Learning||Is keen to learn and grow as a person|
|Asks questions to get information, carry out tasks and learn new skills|
|Talks to colleagues|
|Builds up a network of people to help|
|Is willing to try out new things|
Use the downloadable template at the end of the page to specify:
- The personal attributes you want a student to demonstrate when they apply for or start a placement;
- Other essential requirements for the student’s role such as willingness to travel or work outside normal hours.
The example below illustrates how a student might complete the template.
|Placement Job Role||Web designer|
|Personal Attributes||How have you demonstrated them?|
|Positive attitude to work||I was asked if I could build a website for a local nursery where my sister works. There was a tight deadline (2 weeks) so I worked evenings and weekends to finish it on time.|
|Interest in the work we do||I am a regular reader of online reviews and information about new software and design methods. I would like to start my career as a web designer in a local business.|
|Ready to take responsibility||I took responsibility for finishing the website in time. I was happy to do this because I understood what was wanted and had a good link to the nursery through my sister.|
|Well-organised and reliable||The timetable for the website project was tight so I created a project plan using the free version of SmartSheet, which gave me a task list with start and end dates. I had to make some changes to the plan during the 2 weeks to fit in with meetings at the nursery so I re-planned other tasks to make sure I finished on time.|
|Keen to learn and grow as a person||I learned a lot from doing this project, not so much about how to build a website because I already knew it, more about talking to people and having the confidence to lead the discussion without stopping the others from saying things.|
|Able to communicate||When building the website I talked to the nursery owner and two other members of staff about the content. I produced a storyboard and went through it with them so they had a chance to give their own views. I ended up making quite a few changes to the design which improved it from my initial ideas.|
|Willing to try new things||For this website I used the premium trial version of WordPress which I had never used before but was recommended in the online version of Net magazine. The 14-day trial gave me enough time to try a couple of plug-ins so the nursery could automate emails and newsletters to parents.|
|Other requirements||Can you meet them? (please specify)|
|Willing to travel (10 mile radius)||Yes, I am willing to travel but it would depend on if there is a bus or train service as I am reliant on public transport. I could also cycle to work.|
|Able to work outside normal 9-5 hours||Yes, I would be OK to work in the evenings and at weekends, also in the holidays.|