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Industry placement models for Legal, Finance and Accounting

There are 3 typical models for industry 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 Legal, Finance and Accounting?

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

  • which pattern of work will allow the student to do meaningful work and develop occupationally-relevant skills?
  • 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?
  • are there periods when a student could make a useful contribution – for example, for month- or year-end accounting processes?
  • are there periods a student could helpfully do meaningful work and gain skills, such as times when customers traditionally seek advice on financial planning and investments, or when your customers need support with compliance and risk at a particular time?
  • would your caseload benefit from intensive or regular support?
  • do you have a project planned, for example, a change in payroll methods, where some research and support would be helpful?
  • does the placement fit with the student’s course? Are there elements of the course of particular interest to you?

Placement models

(using c.350 average hours as examples)

Contents

Day release

Year 1: 1 day a week, using 100 of the 350 hours

Year 2: 1 day a week, using the remaining 250 hours not used in year one

When this model might work:

  • Where regular support would be useful as your business pattern is steady and regular, such as archiving documents
  • Where you have tasks that need doing repeatedly, such as client accounts
  • Where the mentor or line manager would prefer to limit their supervision time during a given week

Examples

Local law firm

A law firm offered an industry placement to support their paralegals in the preparation of law cases. This required regular updating of information on case details and research within public records.

A suitable student was matched from the local college, who worked 2 days a week to support the team. The team found that 2 days a week worked well, giving them sufficient time to get to know the student well, and for the student to be involved in extended tasks.

Insurance company

A large insurance company offered three students, as a group, placements to monitor and analyse the demographic and geographical breakdown of policy applications. This required weekly record keeping, data consolidation and collation of information for a final report.

The industry placement students gained broader experience as well, by joining other teams in the business, to gain experience of the entire insurance process. The students worked Thursdays and Fridays to coincide with weekly monitoring and reporting cycles.

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 there is an end-to-end project which requires dedicated resource in a limited time period
  • Where there are demands at particular times, for example at the end of the financial year
  • Where a client or supplier has requested a specific piece of work

Examples

Regional solicitors

A firm of solicitors brought in an industry placement student to analyse the take up of legal aid, which is a substantial element of the firm’s fee revenue. The student owned and delivered an end to-end project to understand the geographic and socio-economic spread of applications.

In year 1, the student developed an analysis framework and established a baseline which was revisited in year 2. The block placement approach allowed time to gather data, compile the report based on the findings and make recommendations on how take up could be improved.

Small charity

A small charity secured a grant to disperse funds to local voluntary groups. An industry placement student was brought in on a block period to help design and coordinate a bidding process, including
bid review and evaluation to deliver the grant’s objectives within budgetary constraints.

Once suppliers were selected, the placement student assisted with setting up grant agreements with those who successfully tendered for the grant money and helped to set up robust financial reporting
with each supplier.

In year 2 the student was involved in the evaluation of the success of the grant which involved data and financial analysis and reporting.

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 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

Legal department within a large company

A company’s legal department has been involved in a long-term regulatory case over a number of years. They offered a placement to a student to collate, index and cross-reference new, background
documentation on a weekly basis. The student gained experience of a wide range of legal issues and processes in year 1.

As the case came to court in year 2, there was a full-time requirement for checking that case files remained up-to-date and complete and that all parties were kept informed of progress. The placement block was timed to coincide with the peak demand for these requirements, supporting the in-house team and allowing the student to experience the legal process from start to finish.

Financial advisor

A financial advisory and consultancy service invited two placement students to set up a process for analysing their client database to assess the profitability of individual financial products. The students drafted new reports and supporting documentation, working with individual members of the client advisory team.

The research and design were completed in year 1. The company implemented the new process immediately. In year 2 the students conducted a review, involving interrogating data, identifying trends, and enhancing the system by introducing forecasting and appraisal functions into the process.

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