Do You Get Paid for a Work Placement at University?

Do You Get Paid for a Work Placement at University

It’s possible that an organisation is assigned to you if you’re enrolled in a course that requires a work placement. Depending on the kind of placement you do and how long you work, you may or may not be paid during your work placement.

In general, if it’s a voluntary work experience or internship, you may not receive payment. However, if it’s a compulsory placement, you may be paid a wage.

Compulsory placements, also known as sandwich placements, are typically part of a degree program and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year. During this time, you’ll work in a real-world environment, gaining valuable experience and putting your academic knowledge into practice.

This article outlines the types of placements and how to get paid for them. Read on to find out more.

What are Work Placements at the University

If you are a university student, you may have heard about work placements. A work placement is an opportunity for students to gain practical work experience in their field of study. It is a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to real-life situations.

Work placements can be paid or unpaid, and they can vary in length from a few weeks to a year.

To find a work placement, you can start by checking with your university’s career center. They may have a list of available placements or can help you find one that suits your interests and skills. You can also search for work placements online or through professional organizations in your field of study.

Work placements are not always guaranteed. You may need to go through an application and interview process to secure a placement. It is also important to understand the terms of your placement, including the length, pay, and responsibilities.

See also: What is a Placement Year at University?

Types of University Placements

There are generally two types of university placements: shorter-term placements and longer-term placements, often referred to as “sandwich placements.”

1. Shorter-Term Placements

Shorter-term placements typically take place over the holidays for a few weeks or involve working one day a week for a longer period. While these placements offer a quick flash of experience in the workplace, they are usually not paid positions. Companies often view these placements as brief opportunities for students to gain exposure rather than formal employment.

Although shorter-term placements may not provide a financial reward, they offer numerous other benefits. They allow you to gain valuable experience, which can be added to your CV and enhance your future job prospects. This, among others, is one of the achievements to put on a CV.

2. Longer-Term Placements (Sandwich Placements)

Longer-term placements, known as “sandwich placements,” are an integral part of certain degree courses. These placements typically span a year and require students to work within an industry related to their field of study.

Unlike shorter-term placements, sandwich placements often come with a decent salary ranging from £11,000 to £25,000 per year.

While financial considerations may be a significant factor in choosing a longer-term placement, remember that these placements offer much more than just monetary compensation. They provide invaluable experience, help you build a network of contacts, and can even lead to full-time job opportunities after graduation.

See also: Does Work Experience Count as Employment?

Benefits of University Work Placements

While financial gain may be a primary concern, it is essential to recognize the multiple advantages of undertaking a university work placement. Consider the following benefits:

1. Practical Application of Knowledge

University work placements offer you the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from your course in a real-world setting. This practical experience enhances your understanding of the subject matter and equips you with the skills necessary for success in your chosen field.

2. Enhanced Employability

Employers highly value candidates with real-world experience. By undertaking a work placement, you demonstrate your ability to adapt to a professional environment and gain relevant skills that make you stand out in the job market.

3. Networking Opportunities

During your placement, you have the chance to connect with professionals in your industry. Building a network of contacts can be immensely beneficial when you are seeking employment after graduation. These contacts can provide valuable insights, recommendations, and even job opportunities.

4. References for Future Employment

A successful work placement can lead to excellent references from your supervisors or colleagues. In today’s competitive job market, positive references can greatly enhance your chances of securing employment in your desired field.

5. Potential for Full-Time Job Offers

In some cases, a work placement can serve as a stepping stone to a full-time job. If you excel during your placement and prove your value to the company, they may offer you a permanent position upon graduation. This can provide a seamless transition into your desired career path.

See also: How Many Hours Can a Student Work Legally in the UK?

Drawbacks of University Placements

While there are numerous benefits to undertaking a university work placement, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks. These include:

1. Separation from University Life

A placement year often occurs during the third year of university, which means you will be separated from the usual university lifestyle and the friends you have made. This separation can be a challenging adjustment, and it is important to consider whether you are willing to sacrifice a year of traditional university life.

2. Potential Job Discontent

If you find yourself in a placement that does not align with your interests or proves to be unfulfilling, you may be stuck in a year-long commitment that becomes monotonous and unenjoyable. It is vital to carefully consider the nature of the placement and ensure it aligns with your career aspirations and personal interests.

3. Reintegration into University Life

After a year spent in the working world, readjusting to the university environment may pose challenges. The lifestyle and demands of a university differ significantly from those of the workplace. It is important to be prepared for this transition and consider how you will adapt to the academic setting again.

See also: How to Find a Work Experience in Year 12: Tips for 2024

Making the Decision

After considering the various factors discussed above, you may be wondering whether you should undertake a university work placement. The decision ultimately depends on your specific circumstances and aspirations.

If you have a genuine interest in your chosen subject, a clear career goal, and are eager to gain practical experience in that field, a work placement can provide invaluable growth opportunities.

On the other hand, if you are unsure about your career preferences or lack enthusiasm for your subject, it is crucial to weigh the potential benefits against the potential drawbacks before making a decision.

Remember to conduct thorough research on your chosen course and university to determine whether a work placement is mandatory or optional. This information will help guide your decision-making process.

So many people also wonder if they can do a placement year after graduating. Read to find out!

See also: Can You Do a Placement Year Abroad?


University work placements offer the chance to gain real-world experience, apply academic knowledge, and enhance employability. While financial compensation varies depending on the type of placement, it is essential to consider the broader benefits of these opportunities. Work placements provide networking prospects, potential job offers, and the chance to develop crucial skills and references for future employment.

When deciding whether to pursue a university work placement, carefully consider the nature of the placement, its alignment with your career goals, and the potential impact on your university experience. By making an informed decision, you can maximize the opportunities and benefits that a work placement can offer.


Do you get paid for placement at uni uk?

Not always. Whether you get paid for a work placement in the UK depends on the employer and the type of placement. Some employers do pay their placement students, while others do not. If you are offered a unpaid placement, you should ask the employer about the possibility of receiving a stipend or other financial support.

How do placement fees work?

Placement fees are a type of tuition fee that some universities charge students who are on work placements. These fees are usually used to cover the costs of the placement, such as travel expenses and insurance. The amount of the placement fee varies from university to university, and it is important to check with your university before you apply for a placement.

Do I pay for a placement year?

It depends on your university and course. Some universities charge a placement fee, while others do not. The amount of the placement fee also varies from university to university. In general, the placement fee is used to cover the costs of the placement, such as travel expenses and insurance.

How much is a placement fee?

The placement fee varies from university to university. For example, the University of Manchester charges £1,850 for its undergraduate placement year, while the University of Bristol charges £2,000.

What is the placement amount?

The placement amount is the amount of money that you receive for your work placement. This is usually paid by the employer, but it can also be delivered by your university or government. The placement amount varies depending on the employer, the role, and the location.



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