Year in Industry

Sometimes called a sandwich year, or industrial placement, a year in industry gives you the chance to gain real work experience at a company before you graduate.

What is it?

Usually taken after your second or third year, a year in industry involves working for a company before going back to finish your studies. Compared to doing an internship for a few months over the summer holidays, a year’s work gives you the chance to really get stuck in and contribute. Many companies use placements as a recruitment process, and you could be offered a guaranteed job with the same company on graduation. A year's work experience will make you stand head and shoulders above other candidates in your graduate applications, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and gain a bucket load of skills in the process.

For engineering graduates in 2014, the proportions for those entering employment were 74.6% for sandwich students and 67.8% for others

A placement year is also a great opportunity to work out what kind of job you are interested in doing in the future. You might find that what you thought was your ideal job is not what you expected, what you thought you’d hate you actually love or what kind of work environment suits you best. 

How much does it cost?

If your placement is part-way through your course you'll usually have to continue paying tuition fees, but at a reduced rate. Student Finance will cover this like any other year, and most placements are paid, which enables you to cover living expenses while you work. You could even end up earning some money! Depending on the university, it is also sometimes possible to suspend your studies for a year to undertake an industrial placement. 

How do I find a placement?

Look on the website of companies that you want to work for, search key words for jobs you are interested in, go on graduate recruitment websites, talk to people at graduate recruitment fairs, go through your university careers service. Check for internship advertisements!


Portia Bowman

Portia works at Thales Alenia Space UK is a graduate of the University of Leicester (Space Exploration Systems MSc (SEEDS) and Physics with Astrophysics BSc).

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