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For their placements, Hayley and Hannah have stayed right here at Bournemouth University, working as Education Outreach Assistants. Here are their thoughts on why a placement is so important.

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Hannah (left) and Hayley (right) relaxing after a day on the road

“I’m sorry, but you’re over-qualified and under-experienced for this job.”

The worst, but one of the most frequently heard phrases for graduates when fighting to find their feet on the job ladder after a three year combat of gaining their degree. In reality, getting out into the “real world” isn’t as easy as you’d hope, and not having experience can be one of your biggest hold backs. This is why having a placement year is the most valuable experience you can gain at university.

Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience” and he couldn’t have been more right. Placement year is the year where your studies come to life. Everything you’ve learnt becomes reality and now it’s all your job to manage your future.

So coming from real life placement students here are our top three reasons why you should undertake a placement:

Transform your theory into practice. Placement year puts into context your area of expertise. It’s making it real.

Hayley: “Consumer behaviour was a module in my 2nd year that I didn’t feel would have much relevance to anything I would do on my placement year. But I couldn’t have been more wrong! For each activity I create I have to know EXACTLY what will engage my target audience to make it a success. This isn’t the easiest thing to do when my audiences are usually indecisive and uninspired teens! But through using some of the techniques learnt, I haven’t failed yet (touch wood!).”

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A comfort blanket year to discover what you really want out of your career. Because let’s face it, we’ll all be working to keep this world turning for a long time, so make sure you get on the right path now! Your year as a placement student is all about learning and giving it a go. It’s okay to get things wrong and ask for help. So get this experience before reaching your dream job.

Hannah: “Before I started placement I was adamant that I wanted to work in HR, thinking I was destined to sit behind a desk and computer, working on the “behind the scenes” of a business.  I had designed my whole degree and career around this, but ended up in an events placement where I spend 70% of my time working with both student ambassadors and our target audience. Luckily for me, turns out I can talk the back legs off a donkey and my real strengths lie in my ‘people skills’, something I may have found out too late without my placement year.”

Its gives you a much desired competitive edge. Get your head above the rest. Get ahead of the competition by having a whole year’s worth of industry experience under your belt.

Placement year is the route to opportunity, your key to networking and professional development. In the cheesiest sense it’s “your time to shine!” So don’t view a placement year as another year of studying, or a year of being the office tea maker. Take the opportunity of a placement year and discover who you want to be, and where your career will take you.

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We have both gained more skills then we even thought humanly possible for two previously sheltered and inexperienced university students and with a few months still to go we are convinced we will come out as outreach super heroes!

By Hayley Paginton, BA (Hons) Events Management and Hannah Rudley, BA (Hons) Business Studies with Human Resource Management

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