Industry placement models for Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care
There are 3 typical models for placements: Day Release, Block and Mixed. As long as the total time for each placement adds up to minimum 315 hours (and on average we expect placements to be around 350 hours), you can adapt the models to suit your business needs, and to align with the student’s course.
The placement model will be agreed between you, the college or school, and the student. T Level students choose their specialism in Year 1 so the placement can take place later in that year, entirely in Year 2 or across both years.
You will all want to get the best for the student and your business, so the timing needs to support their learning and your organisation’s needs
Which model is best for you in Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care?
Questions you may want to ask yourself when determining which model best suits your organisation:
- is work constant throughout the year, so regular weekly hours would be appropriate, or do you have projects where a block of time would be best?
- are there particular seasons when you would welcome someone to support your peak periods of activity?
- are there periods when you would be quieter and more able to dedicate time to supervising and supporting the development of a student?
- can your working pattern be flexible or is it dependent on external factors such as weather conditions or the needs of animals etc?
- does the placement fit with the timing of segments of students’ courses? Are there elements of the course that are of particular interest to you?
(using c.350 average hours as examples)
Year 1: 2 days a week, for 10 weeks using 160 of the 350 hours
Year 2: 2 days a week, for 12 weeks using the remaining 190 hours
When this model might work:
- Where regular support would be useful as your business pattern is fairly steady and regular
- Where you have a variety of tasks that need doing regularly, avoiding too much repetition
- Where the mentor or line manager would prefer to limit their supervision time during a given week
A large veterinary chain offered industry placements to a group of students across four of their practices. They wanted to showcase the veterinary career progression opportunities they had for young people entering the industry.
The students came in 2 days a week to support vets and nurses. They observed a range of surgeries, supported reception and put together a guide for pet owners on how to support their pets recovering from treatments. All students applied for jobs at the company after their studies.
A stable offered a student an industry placement, to give the student the practical skills needed to make a start in the profession.
The placement was 1 day a week for 18 months and began with helping the trainer as they worked with owners to understand their needs and to prepare horses for competition.
The student learned a great deal about the profession and over time was given more opportunity to discuss the condition of horses with customers, keep a log of training and advice, monitor the condition of horses and adjusting training when needed.
Year 1: A single block using 100 of the 350 hours
Year 2: A single block using the remaining 220 hours
When this model might work:
- Where there is a cycle of activity, which requires dedicated resource in a limited time period
- Where there are demands at particular times, for example harvesting, lambing, summer visitor attractions
- Where a client or supplier has requested a specific piece of work completed within a set timeline
- Where a period of intensive development of technical skills is required to allow for a safe and successful industry placement
Supporting a packhouse supervisor / line leader
A packhouse that cleans, sorts and packages vegetables for supermarkets, offered industry placements to support line leaders to coordinate the work of the production team to meet targets during their busy season.
The students started just before the busy season to learn about health and safety, hygiene, the machinery used in the building, quality standards and production schedules.
Once the season started, they supported the line leaders to coordinate production and resources, carry out machine maintenance and supervise packing of products.
They also ordered stock for all consumables, managed records and supported the Quality Controller to ensure that all products that left the packhouse were of the appropriate standard.
Agricultural machinery servicing support
A dealer that sells and maintains agricultural machinery offered an industry placement to a student to support their servicing department over 2 blocks of learning.
During the first placement block, in year one, the student worked under the supervision of a senior engineering technician servicing agricultural vehicles, diagnosing and repairing faults at the main depot.
The initial block allowed the employer to support the student to develop skills and confidence with the dangerous specialist equipment. They felt this was better than a day release model where students could be more likely to need recaps and revision of safety training.
During the second year the student supported a senior engineering technician across farms and other agricultural businesses, servicing and repairing static machinery. This improved their customer service skills alongside their technical skills.
Year 1: 1 day a week, using 100 hours of the 350 hours
Year 2: A single block using the remaining 250 hours
When this model might work:
- Where a student’s course becomes more specialised in Year 2
- Where it helps a student to understand the work in a phased way, learning first and then building involvement
- Where a mix of regular and project-based activities can be worked into a placement
- Where a client or supplier has requested a specific piece of work spread out over a longer time
Arable farm support – crop technician
A farm that produces a variety of cereal crops offered mixed industry placements to 2 students.
The students came in 1 day a week to get an understanding of the tasks that needed to be completed across the farm throughout the year. This was supplemented by a block placement during the busy harvesting season.
The students acted as trainee crop technicians, working alongside farm staff to prepare seed beds, control pests and store crops appropriately. They also learned about setting machinery for good crop growth and collected and analysed soil samples. In the harvest period, after a trial, students operated machinery, under supervision, to harvest and process crops.
After their placements, both students went on to higher education and are hoping to pursue a career in arable farming.
A waterway trust offered industry placements to a group of students to support their maintenance team responsible for the ongoing upkeep and conservation of the canal network in and around the local area.
The placement started as day release, giving students opportunities to build their knowledge of canal structures and operations and support small-scale maintenance projects.
In the second year the students came back to the team to support a major project restoring and repairing a series of locks along the canal over an 8-week period.
The placement gave the students experience of both minor on-going maintenance and the planning and delivery of time-critical projects.