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Industry placement models for Health and Science

There are 3 typical models for placements: Day Release, Block and Mixed.

As long as the total time for each placement adds up to a minimum of 315 hours (averaging 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 Health and Science?

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

  • which areas of your business are suitable and safe for students to work in?
  • what model of placement would suit your business cycle? For example, in health you might prefer students to start a placement with you in the autumn so that they are prepared for their work with you ahead of the winter peak-demand season.
  • how would the timing of a placement fit with the student’s course and their development objectives? For example, the technical understanding and practical skills of working in a laboratory testing setting on a particular piece of work?
  • do you have peaks and troughs in your work scheduling or is this pretty constant throughout the year, so regular weekly hours would be best or is your work project-based?

Placement models

(using c.350 average hours as examples)

Contents

Day release

Year 1: 1 day (8 hours) a week, for 20 weeks using 160 of the 350 hours

Year 2: 1 day a week, for 24 weeks using the remaining 190 hours

When this model might work:

  • For continuous activities and services such as dental care, healthcare or pharmacy
  • On a particularly busy day (or days) of the week when support is needed and could be incorporated into your services
  • To provide cover for when apprentices are away from the workplace on a weekly basis

Examples

Residential nursing home

Attending 2 days a week, the student worked under the direction of the registered healthcare practitioner and a hands-on care team in a local residential nursing home.

For the first 6 weeks of the placement the student supported an experienced senior care worker in a healthcare role to see the job role in practice, during which time the student’s skills and aptitudes were assessed.

Gradually the student carried out tasks under supervision such as clinical measurements and handling patient samples for processing and subsequent disposal. The student also worked with one of the home’s apprentices who acted as a mentor. The placement student provided cover when apprentices were in college 1 day each week

Pharmacy - NHS

Under the overall supervision of a clinical pharmacist within a Pharmacy Department of an NHS Trust (hospital setting), working with Pharmacy Assistants, the industry placement allowed a group of students to experience various roles, on rotation, within the pharmacy carrying out productive tasks such as labelling products, managing stock control, record keeping and prescription logging.

The group was coordinated and supported by an experienced technician who in turn developed their own supervisory and mentoring skills. Several of the students have gone on to higher education or direct recruitment into the Trust as Pharmacy Technicians.

Block

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

Year two: A single block using the remaining 200 hours

When this model might work:

  • Where concentrated work is needed to meet a specific deadline, equipment needs to be available and a more formal approach is necessary e.g. advantages in science settings undertaking complex and long running experiments throughout the placement
  • Where placement blocks can be aligned to a business lifecycle or annual business processes
  • To allow managers to schedule and plan well in advance for groups of students

Examples

Research and development - Food processing company

Working within a research and development department, this placement gave students insights into working in the food science industry, assisting a researcher as part of a research team with product (food line) development projects.

During the placement, students built their understanding of the importance of the commercialisation of products and their role in working with the Marketing and Sales team.

In developmental roles, students worked alongside Food Technologists to improve existing products, develop and launch new lines to ensure food products are safe to eat and of consistent quality (appearance, taste, and texture).

Block release enabled students to be involved in two live research projects over the two years.

Science laboratory - University

Students began their placements in January of year 1. The placements required careful planning to match tasks to students’ timetables and their capabilities. Careful consideration was given to the range of techniques they could try and repeat, honing their skills so that by the end of the placement the students were productive in the research laboratory setting.

The placement was offered in 2 blocks. The first shorter block was an immersive induction to make sure students were comfortable and safe in the work environment and understood their duties and responsibilities.

The longer second block allowed in-depth involvement in experiments over several days. Supervision and mentoring was carried out by PhD and Post-Doctoral researchers.

Mixed

Year one: 1 day a week for 12 weeks, using 96 hours of the 350 hours

Year two: 2 blocks using the remaining 250 hours

When this model might work:

  • Where a mix of regular and project-based activities can be worked into a placement
  • When it helps a student to understand your organisation in a phased way, building involvement as the student develops

Examples

Large private dental care organisation

Working alongside the dental practice team, the placement involved assisting the Dental Nurse and Practice Manager in the day to day activities of a Dental Practice.

The placement started with an induction programme of training and observation. In year 1 the day release model enabled the students to concentrate on the business support side of the work within the practice as well as to get a fuller understanding of the more clinical chair-side support to dentists. Duties included working on reception, updating patient records, stock taking and setting up and carrying decontamination of instruments.

In year 2, students worked with qualified practitioners with the design, manufacture or repair of a range of prescribed dental devices including fixed prosthodontics, removable orthodontics and prosthetics.

Paint manufacturing company

Students worked in the Technical Team whose role is to provide technical and analytical services in support of the business, assisting the Metrology Team Leader in the measurement of chemical pollutants across its new products range.

Working alongside a Metrology Technician, students were able to apply their knowledge of core measurement principles and practices and look to identify, under supervision, measurement needs using workplace specialist tools, equipment, instrumentation and software programs.

In year 1, on a day release model, students became familiar with the organisation, product range, processes and procedures to support analysis work. In year 2, blocks enabled the employer to put the students’ skills into practice in the testing phase of product lines.

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