Hosting placements in smaller organisations


There are more than 2.75 million small and medium-sized organisations in the UK, and the majority of industry placements are hosted in these organisations.

There are several reasons why small and medium-sized organisations are very successful at hosting students. For one thing, they usually offer students a friendly and approachable environment. Another advantage of being a relatively small organisation is that students often have the chance to do a lot of different tasks and projects, which gives them wider experience of real-life work. And they see first-hand how the organisation deals with challenges and opportunities. 

Smaller organisations themselves benefit from placements in many ways as well. One of the benefits is that the students they host are eager and enthusiastic, and they bring new ideas and fresh perspectives. Another benefit is that by helping with tasks and projects, students free up other members of staff and improve productivity.  And they provide a valuable pipeline of future talent.

So there’s every reason for small and medium-sized organisations to host a student on a placement and gain these benefits. 


Who this resource is for

  • Owners and managers in small and medium-sized organisations
  • Managers and staff who organise industry placements 
  • Staff who will help to support students. 


About the resource

This resource shows why small and medium-sized organisations benefit from industry placements and how they host students successfully,

It contains:

  • A video featuring employers talking about why they benefit from hosting a student and how the placements are organised.
  • Table showing why small and medium-sized organisations are good at hosting  students. 
  • A downloadable template for planning a placement.   

You can use it to:

  • Help you decide about hosting a student in your organisation;
  • Explain your decision to other people in the organisation; 
  • Encourage managers and staff to get involved; 
  • Plan how to organise the placement. 


Videos – Why so many small and medium-sized organisations are hosting 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 smaller 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 find out why smaller employers benefit from industry placements and how they host students successfully. 

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 so many small and medium-sized organisations are hosting industry placements 
  2. Planning the placement in a smaller organisation 
  3. Relationships with students
  4. Benefits to SMEs.


Why smaller organisations are good placement hosts

The table shows:

  • The features of small and medium-sized organisations that enable them to be very successful placement hosts
  • How these features are an advantage to students 
  • How they are an advantage to the host organisation 
Features Advantages to students  Advantages to the IP host
People know each other well Students feel comfortable and find their feet easily Staff can share out the tasks of supporting students between them
Staff have varied and often multiple roles Students get a wide range of experience and responsibility Team leaders can deploy students in different teams to suit the workflow
Teams are relatively small Students and make an impact quickly, and their contributions are valued Teams can make use of an ‘extra pair of hands’ at busy times
Structures are often fairly informal Students gain confidence and ease in the working environment New ideas and ways of thinking that students bring can be tested and adopted
They are usually very hands-on T Level students learn by doing from practical experience  Students are willing to turn their hand to various tasks and projects
New people are needed to fill gaps and get jobs done  Students may be available for work over and above the IP hours, and/or when they finish the course There’s a ready ‘pool’ of people who know the organisation and can come in at short notice
People help and support each other Students learn valuable teamwork skills There are many opportunities for managers and staff to gain coaching and mentoring skills
Small businesses are agile and flexible Students learn how to adapt and change Managers have another resource to deploy where most needed 
Small businesses are often innovative Students can learn to think like entrepreneurs Fresh eyes and a different perspective help to bring in new ideas


Benefits and features

Use the downloadable template to:

  • List the benefits you would like to gain from hosting a student
  • Identify the features in your organisation that help you to gain these benefits.

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