Which industry placement models could work for you?
These are 3 typical models for industry placements: day release, block and mixed.
You can design a mix of all models to suit your business needs, as long as the placement is a minimum of 315 hours, with an average of 350 hours (the examples below use 350 hours).
The placement models in the diagrams below are not prescriptive: for example, placements don’t have to take place over 2 years. T Level students choose an occupational specialism during Year 1, so their industry placement could start later in Year 1, or even be delivered entirely in the second year.
The T Level school or college will work with you to develop models that works for the student and for you.
Which model is best for you?
The models below are examples only and you will want to divide up the hours to suit your needs and the student’s needs. Here are some questions to think about:
- are there peaks and troughs in the work cycle?
- is there a time of year that’s best? When are you most confident that you can provide work and line management?
- are there any projects planned that would influence the timing? When could your student contribute the most?
- how does the placement fit into the student’s course? Which model lets the student apply their coursework in their placement with you?
- can you offer the full number of hours, or would it be better to share the industry placement with another employer?
- would fixed or flexible days work best (that is, on the same day or days each week, or using a more flexible approach based on when work is available)?
- how much is location and travel to work a factor? Is travel straightforward, or could this influence the pattern (for example, adjusting for winter timetables on public transport, or offering week blocks to support the purchase of weekly travel cards)?
(using c.350 average hours as examples)
Year 1: 1 day per week using, for example, 100 of the 350 hours
Year 2: 1 day per week using the 250 hours not used in year 1
Year 1: 2 days per week, for 10 weeks using 160 of the 350 hours
Year 2: 2 days per week, for 12 weeks using hours not used in year 1
When this model works:
- Where a regular, steady pattern suits the business
- When there are repeated tasks that need doing e.g. weekly
- To spread the supervision time from line managers and mentors
- When the T Level student replaces an apprentice when they attend day release to college
- In a team where on-demand services are delivered directly to users and customers
- Where students can contribute to supporting infrastructure that requires regular maintenance or updating
- For projects that work on a predictable cycle such as creating or posting website or social media content
A landscaping company uses a day release model. They want to give the student experience of different tasks that take place through the four seasons. This means the student sees a full cycle and can lend a hand when there’s a lot to do.
Attending 2 days a week, the student supported internal customers in this large retail chain, as part of the IT support team.
In the first part of the placement the student observed and supported an experienced member of the team with responding to user enquiries and maintaining customer response database records.
In year 2, the student worked more independently with lighter touch supervision, to support staff with hardware, software and technology products for customers.
By the end of the placement, the student was "just another member of the team".
Year 1: A single block using, for example, 175 of the 350 hours
Year 2: A single block using, for example, the 175 hours not used in year one
When this model works:
- In seasonal occupations e.g. agriculture and catering
- Where there are high levels of demand at particular times e.g. the NHS in winter, peak trading at Christmas and Easter for retailers
- In organisations with project-based assignments or client commissioned projects
- Where seeing the full cycle of business is important e.g. term at an education or child-care setting
- For rural-based employers
A pharmaceutical company runs experiments over several months. They need the student to work from the start of the experiment to the end, so use a multiple block release model. This works well for the student, who can study the relevant scientific subjects in between their technical work on the placement.
Small manufacturing company - broadcast industry
A small manufacturing company produces equipment for the broadcast industry, which peaks twice a year over 4-yearly cycles, aligning to the Olympics and Football World cup.
Industry placement students have been brought in to support the preparation for peak periods, completing particular projects and roles – for example, design some components using CAD/CAM or to produce prototypes using Additive Manufacturing (3D printing).
Students had opportunities to develop their skills working in a team, using relevant software, understanding the design process, evaluating the effectiveness of the designs to inform the manufacturing process.
Year 1: 1 day per week, using 100 of the 350 hours, for example
Year 2: 1 day per week, using 150 hours, for example - A single block, using the remaining 100 hours
Year 1: 1 day per week for 10 weeks, using 80 of the 350 hours
Year 2: a block using the remaining 270 hours
When this works:
- In industries with unpredictable workflow: e.g. digital/creative companies
- Where work is part-seasonal: e.g. weddings and Christmas season for hair and beauty firms
- When it helps a student to understand your organisation in a phased way, building involvement as the student develops
- To provide experience of your industry at different times, perhaps during busy and quieter periods, or at different times of the year
Creative design agency
A creative agency takes a student every other week to carry out regular activities. When they are especially busy, they arrange to bring the student in for block release to work on a specific client project until it’s finished.
Exclusive beauty salon
A nationally recognised beauty salon wanted to grow its own talent, because they insist that understanding their unique approach and culture, and the specialist techniques used for private treatments to exclusive standards, is paramount to their success.
They offered an industry placement to a student 1 day a week for 10 weeks. This involved meeting, greeting and attending to clients, taking information for private treatments, stock checking and supporting beauty therapists as needed.
In the second year, the student came back for an extended block to prepare them for a junior role in the business on completion of their course.
The student also worked with the manager for 2 weeks before the end of their course, delivering private treatments under supervision and in partnership with one of the beauty therapists.
IT services help desk
The student joined the IT Support Desk of a legal firm, starting with a block of 2 weeks and then changing to 2 days a week. Initially the student joined the team to understand the organisations’ systems and software. The student then handled quick fixes and was slowly introduced to more business critical and complex systems.
Mixed (year 2 only)
Year 2: 1 day per week for 25 weeks using for example 200 hours or a single 20 day block using the remaining 150 hours
When this works:
- Where a T Level student chooses their specialism later in year 1
- In industries that have annual business cycles
An accountancy firm offers an industry placement to a student to allow them to spread the role across a whole financial year, culminating in a year-end project done as a block.
If you're interested in offering an industry placement, get in touch with T Level providers near you.