Placements & Internships

Why should I do a placement?

Placements offer vital experience - especially in the current economic climate. Spending nearly a year in an organisation allows you to be involved in different activities, develop a range of skills that can also be transferred to other jobs and put into practice knowledge you have learnt at university. Graduates from the University of Surrey consistently have a very low level of unemployment; the excellent experiences that many of them have gained on the placement have really helped them find out what they would like to do and get the job they want.

With thanks to CareerPlayer: graduate jobs & career advice on video

When are they?

Typically the third year of a four-year course, usually starting around June-August and lasting until the following summer.

Please see the Professional Training scheme web-site for further details.

How are they arranged?

Through your department. At the start of the second year a member of staff, usually the Professional Training Tutor, will explain how the placement system works and how placements are advertised. While you are on placement a member of staff from your department will normally visit you three times. In addition to two visits, your department may arrange an event where you return to the University.

You choose which placements you would like to apply for. Placements are advertised throughout the year, as different organisations decide that they would like to hire a placement student. Often organisations that expect to have lots of applications advertise their placements in the first semester. You will probably have to complete a CV or an application form, (there is an example CV on our Information Leaflets page) then be interviewed and sometimes attend an assessment centre. See our pages under Finding Work for more information about these processes. Other students, from this university and elsewhere, will be applying too. The employer will look at all applications and decide which candidate fits best with what they are looking for.

How can I prepare?

The Careers Service has developed some materials to help you prepare for applying for your placement, based on a workshop we have run. You can find them from the page Level 1 pre-placement workshop.

What happens if I am turned down?

If you are not successful with your first applications don’t give up; there will be more opportunities. If you are flexible about where you would like to work and what you would like to do you have the best chance of getting an interesting placement. Often companies that you have not heard of, or think might not be very exciting, offer very interesting work.

Will I get a job through one?

Sometimes, when the placement is over, the organisation offers you a job when your course is finished. You don’t have to go back to your placement company if you don’t want to, but many students who have enjoyed their placement and have a job offer decide to return.

Careers Service Leaflet on Placement CVs

Writing Effective Placement CVs & Covering Letters

Useful websites for students & graduates

Rate my placement

STEP London Internship

Inside careers


Useful websites for graduate internships

Graduate Talent Pool

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