A large number of higher education courses now have a work placement module as part of their course where a student goes into a company or an organisation where the work is relevant to their degree. Work placements can be for a period of 1 month to 9 months, sometimes even a full year. If you have to undertake practical work placement in your course, it is wise to start thinking about where you want to be placed a few months before you start your placement. Some colleges will have a dedicated placement officer who may assist you with your search in finding a work placement however it is also good to be proactive!
Work placement is a great way of gaining extra work experience and provides an opportunity to learn how to transfer the knowledge and theory from your course into practice while developing your personal and interpersonal skills also. It can be an exciting time also as it can give you an insight of what it will be like working in that environment when you graduate and subsequently inform your career choice.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- When you are going on a work placement, you are a representative of the college so maintain professionalism at all time and ensure you are complying with all of your college’s regulations and requirements.
- Build a relationship with your work colleagues while on placement as this is the start of your professional network and it may come in handy one day!
- Set yourself some goals and keep a diary listing new skills or training you have gained and then apply them to your learning experience and CV.
- If relevant, meet with your disability officer to discuss whether you will need additional supports in the workplace such as installation of any assistive technology, physical requirements etc. Don’t forget that supports you are receiving in college may differ from what you might need in a work environment.
- You should inform your placement officer of any additional supports you may need while on work placement or any barriers you may encounter while on placement that other students may not face.
Link: Guide for Students with Disabilities on Placement – by Trinity College, Dublin