Planning more placements


The vast majority of employers say that hosting students in an industry placement benefits the organisation. Students make a real contribution to the work of their teams and are highly appreciative of the opportunity to put their skills into practice in the real world. Staff supporting students learn valuable coaching and mentoring skills. The placements themselves are straightforward to organise, especially when you draw on experience – your own and other employers’. 

Many employers who started with one or two students are now finding there is scope to host more, in different roles and areas of the organisation. Some have ambitious plans to expand the number of placements they offer. They want the benefits of scale and are developing the internal processes to support a significant expansion. A valuable lesson from their experience is that industry placements work best when they are part of the organisation’s wider workforce planning. 

Smaller businesses are playing their part too. They may decide to host two students rather than one or share a second student with another organisation locally. Some even plan the growth of their business partly on offering students a placement, giving them part-time work, and taking them on as apprentices afterwards.


Who this resource is for

  • Employers that already host one or more industry placement.
  • Managers with an interest in recruitment and/or educational links across the organisation.
  • Line managers and staff responsible for supporting students within departments. 


About the resource

This resource shows why employers continue to offer industry placements to T Level students and why some are deciding to host more students by expanding the number of placements they offer.  

It contains:

  • A video featuring employers who explain why they are continuing or expanding placements.
  • A case study showing why one employer is expanding the placements they offer. 
  • Checklist showing reasons to continue and expand the number of placements offered. 
  • A downloadable template to list your own reasons for continuing to host students and expand the number of placements you offer.   

You can use it to:

  • Start planning the development of industry placements so you can host more students and gain even more benefits;
  • Discuss your plan with other people in the organisation and get their buy-in; 
  • Talk with providers so they can prepare their own plans to support you.


Videos – Why you should host more students on industry placements

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 offering placements already and planning to host more students in future. 

Watch the videos to find out why employers who already host students want to host more and how they set about it.  

There are four videos. Click on the first to watch them all straight through without a break, or click on each one to watch it separately:

  1. Why employers offer new placements and how they expand the opportunities for young people 
  2. Success stories
  3. How to plan for more placements
  4. Evolution.



Employer case study

“We were really excited when T Levels were brought to the table,” says Clare Johnson, early careers lead at Sodexo UK and Ireland. “For us it’s about the skills shortage out there. We want to hire for skills rather than job roles, and this is a really good way of seeing what skills young people can bring to the business.”

Sodexo employs around 30,000 people in the UK and Ireland, and several different T Level subjects are relevant to its wide-ranging activities. Rather than going for a ‘big bang’ straightaway, the company started by hosting four engineering T Level students in their corporate services division in southeast England. Their line managers have a ‘fantastic relationship’ with local providers and are ‘highly invested’ in the students who work on their sites or in their contract teams. “I almost feel left out of it now,” says Clare, “which is fantastic, it’s just how it should be”.

There are opportunities to expand the number of placements significantly in other areas of the business too, such as catering. And as a large employer, effective and standardised processes are key. Line managers are coming together to work out what a placement should look like from their perspective and set out roles and responsibilities. They are defining relevant KPIs for delivering a good service to young people. And they will also agree a timeline for expansion.

“This is just another way for us to bring young people into the business,” says Clare. “We want to look at what’s the best outcome for each individual. But we absolutely want to keep that potential talent in our business and give them the chance to go on the career pathway they want.” 

Sodexo’s commitment to industry placements and the T Level programme is for the long term. “It’s not something that’s just here for one or two years. It should definitely have that longevity and be just as important as apprenticeships or graduate positions.

“It’s no surprise that employers want to take these young people on afterwards as part of their team. We see what’s happened with the first couple of cohorts, that’s amazing, but with more data comes more confidence. 

“I’m really hoping that next year we’ll see more of that and they become part of Sodexo as well. If we can be part of that positive outcome for young people, it helps people to engage as we go on.”


Checklist – Why more placements?

Use the checklist:

  • As a reminder of why you’re planning more placements 
  • To help spread the positive messages to others in your organisation (see the next section of this resource). 
Reasons to continue hosting students Examples
Students bring tangible benefits to your organisation They contribute to the work of the team and bring in new ideas  
They are a pipeline for new talent into the organisation and your industry Some may join your business straightaway, perhaps as an apprentice, while others may go on to university and come back to you afterwards
Staff and managers learn and benefit from the experience too Supporting a student can improve coaching and mentoring skills in your teams, and seeing a student grow through the placement can help to make managers more aware of the benefits of developing all employees
Hosting placements brings closer links with the local community Local communities provide customers and are often the main source of new recruits into the business
Reasons to expand the number of placements you offer Examples 
Placements have been a success so far Success breeds confidence, provides momentum, and motivates your teams to do more
Other parts of the organisation are interested ‘Start small, grow big’ is the approach many employers have taken to industry placements, but interest quickly spreads as managers and staff experience the benefits of hosting students
There are opportunities in other roles in the organisation, e.g. digital, finance, administration etc. The core business may be an obvious place to start but other cross-company roles can easily offer other routes to expansion
There is a better supply of high-quality students from providers The number and calibre of students applying for placements will steadily grow as T Levels build a reputation and wider support


Template – Your reasons to host more students

Use the template to list your own reasons for continuing to host students and expanding the number of placements you offer.


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