The Working YearWhy today’s students are choosing professional placements by Claire Colburn at the University of Sussex.

It used to be called a sandwich course, with a year in work tucked in between academic studies. The year away from the campus now has the slicker title of a professional placement, and this mix of work and study is more popular than ever among career-minded students. Claire Colburn, Senior Placements and Work Experience Officer at the University of Sussex, explains how the courses are structured. Interview by Ian Trevett.

At the University of Sussex, we work with employers of all sizes on graduate recruitment. In response to employer feedback that some graduates may need assistance in preparing for work, we designed our Placement Preparation Programme. It gives students a comprehensive introduction to finding work, acing interviews and workplace etiquette. We are delighted that the programme has been nominated for the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ ‘Best Preparation for Work’ award, recognising its value to graduate development. “The placement application process is very valuable. Right from the first year, students undertake Sussex’s placement preparation programme. There’s an online programme where they learn about what it takes to apply for a placement. They have their CV reviewed and they receive interview practise, so when they come to graduate, applying for jobs is not such a daunting prospect.

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