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The name whets the appetite of many prospective students, but what is a placement year all about?

‘Jammed’ in the middle of your studies at BU, you’re more than likely to undertake a 40-week placement as part of your degree, with many going to highly reputable companies such as Sony, Disney and Aston Martin just to name a few.

Like a slice of your favourite white loaf, many of us will be looking to work in a town or city we trust and know well. Those making the leap to our famous capital are sure to get the ‘wholemeal’ experience with a taste of London, while others will look to jump the Channel for an all-out international affair. Delicious metaphors aside, it’s important that you make the right choice for you.

My year will see me work alongside fellow placement student Bethany as an Outreach Assistant at Bournemouth University. Hopefully this post will give you some insight into the life of a placement student.

The transition from student to employee has been an interesting one. Instead of paying the university sizeable tuition fees, I am now breaking in to budgets alongside receiving a monthly salary; a far cry from my hourly rate working at a coffee shop. Finance and admin makes up just one side of the role and is accompanied by being out on the road visiting schools in the Dorset area, which was what caught my eye when initially applying for the role.

Aspiration is our key aim within outreach, and it’s our job to raise it. The aspireBU programme is designed to give every student the opportunity to realise their potential and our delivery of the sessions is a crucial aspect of the job. It’s safe to say, presenting to Dorset’s teenagers is not quite as scary as it first seemed, although it’s still daunting at times.
Active Dorset talk
With every job there will be perks. The ‘steak and chips’ bonus, as I like to call it, gives me the opportunity to eat out whilst travelling to careers fairs and the trusty aspire iPad is my new favourite hand-held accessory. However, the best part of my job is how rewarding it can be. Just last week, BU held an undergraduate open day and dotted around the campus were students who have been reached by the programme.

Early starts and late finishes are part and parcel of this job; a shock to the system indeed! Gone are the days of midweek lie-ins and all day PlayStation sessions with friends, but I do have a new found appreciation for my free time. Your placement will teach you a lot about the real world of work, but it should also be a lot of fun. Not only are my colleagues teaching me vital new skills, but the students are also providing me with the opportunity to be more creative. Dressing up as a reindeer and re-enacting Dragon’s Den is just part of the fun to come!

I always recommend sandwich degrees to any prospective students, with my top tip being that students should volunteer in their chosen industry before university life begins. In this competitive world, you can never have enough experience and it will be hugely beneficial for you in the future. For me, my placement has inspired me to research further into the world of education and in my final year at university, I intend to write my dissertation around the subject. The irony is that in many ways, working for aspireBU has not only achieved in inspiring students, but it’s also inspired me!


Written by Bradley Crack

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