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Industry placement models for Business and Administration

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. The placement can take place later in that year or entirely in Year 2 or across both years.

Which model is best for you in Business and Administration?

Questions you may want to ask yourself when determining which model best suits your organisation.

  • would a department benefit from intensive or regular support from an additional administrator?
  • are there periods when you would welcome someone dedicated to updating specific policies, procedures or processes?
  • is there a project planned, for example, a change in your learning and development approach, where some dedicated research would support the changes?
  • does the placement fit with the student’s course? Are there elements of the course that are of particular interest to you?
  • is your workload steady throughout the year, so regular weekly hours would be best, or do you have year-end projects where a block of time would be best?
  • does your organisation require a high level of trust and immersion into the culture, which might be better achieved with a block?

Placement models

(using c.350 average hours as examples)

Contents

Day release

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 hours not used in year one

When this model might work:

  • Where regular support would be useful as your business pattern is usually steady and regular
  • Where you have cyclical, weekly tasks or processes
  • Where the mentor or line manager would prefer to limit their supervision time during a given week

Examples

Recruitment agency

A recruitment agency deployed a placement student to review their application and placement databases by geography and industry and to put in place a system for regularly collecting, storing, interrogating and reporting.

The project required weekly data collection and analysis, accumulating information for monthly reports, which were presented to managers, and a final report with recommendations.

The student became familiar with the end-to-end process and made an important contribution to the organisation’s continuous improvement.

Large employer HR department

A Human Resources department within a medium sized company required all their staff policies to be updated, offering 3 students placements over 2 years. This was a lengthy project which required research, critical thinking and evaluation, drafting, consultation leading to working with a supervisor to seek sign-off and approval by managers.

In year 1, a full review of the company’s policies was completed. During year 1, the students talked to people across the business about their use and was involved in the first annual review process, which is now business as usual.

The industry placement students were on the same course and effectively worked as a small group sharing their learning over the two years.

Block

Year 1: A single block using 150 of the 350 hours

Year 2: A single block using the remaining 200 hours

When this model might work:

  • Where concentrated work is needed to meet a specific deadline such as an annual performance review cycle
  • Where placement blocks can be aligned to project lifecycles or annual business processes
  • To allow managers to schedule and plan well in advance for groups of students

Examples

Regional charity

A regional charity asked an industry placement student to work in their marketing team to help design and distribute a regular newsletter and a blog for their subscribers.

The student was involved in collecting and analysing data, working within the subscriber database to flag target individuals, identifying and making recommendations for specific content and testing drafts with subscribers.

Data protection and subscriber confidentiality is particularly important in the charity’s work. The student underwent specific and detailed induction training, relating to GDPR and data security, and successfully worked with sensitive and personal data throughout their placement.

Retail employer

A customer service department of a retail chain selected a group of four students to be part of a project team to develop and update its customer facing systems, as they moved from a “high-street only” model of operations, to launching an online offer.

Reporting to a senior manager, who oversaw the project over the 2 years, students saw how a major change initiative was managed and were involved in discrete aspects of the project including:

  • supporting the project lead in scoping and managing the overall project
  • carrying out customer and competitor research
  • evaluating alternative online store, payment, inventory, supply chain and shipping systems
  • engaging and training staff in the new systems

Mixed

Year 1: 2 days a week for 5 weeks, using 80 hours of the 350 hours

Year 2: A block using the remaining 270 hours

When this model might work:

  • Where there is a discrete research project with a long lead-in time
  • When the student needs to learn the business on a weekly basis before undertaking a substantial project

Examples

Learning and development department

A local authority provided placements for 2 students. In year 1, the students assisted L&D professionals to plan and review several individual training and development activities in the council’s Highways Team. In year 2, the students were directly involved in supporting:

  • the identification of individual, team or business learning needs through analysing data and information
  • research into learning and development solutions to meet specific requirements
  • delivery of learning and development activities

Both students are now pursuing careers in learning and development, one through higher education and further learning and the second on an apprenticeship with a large national training organisation.

Quality improvement team

A commercial training company offered a placement to a student in their quality improvement team. The student worked as part of the small team to deliver and monitor the quality of their training packages.

During the first year, the business studies student became familiar with the quality framework and was involved in supporting trainers with online self-assessments. The student helped managers track and make sure that all assessments were completed on time and to the appropriate level of detail.

In year 2, the student supported the process of collating, analysing, benchmarking and presenting findings. The year two placement block was timed to align to the formal annual quality review and business planning processes.

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