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Placement year

Finding a placement

A key part of the placement year experience is for you to gain first-hand practice of the recruitment process, so you are responsible for finding your placement.

Some employers advertise their placement opportunities up to a year in advance, so you should start your placement search well in advance. You can start your placement following completion of your semester 2 studies in the second year of your programme. 

There are no set dates for the placement; however the University requires that your placement is a minimum of 36 weeks, so please bear this in mind when looking at opportunities. You may wish to have more than one placement experience, with the duration adding up to the minimum of 36 weeks (or more) over two or three different placements.  We would not recommend more than three placements.

Placement opportunities through York St John University

The Careers, Placements and Student Opportunities team will post vacancies on the ‘LaunchPad Online’ section of the York St John University website.  View these vacancies and log in with your York St John University e-mail and password.  These will be updated regularly, so we recommend you make an effort to check the page as often as you can.  Please note that it is not our policy to advertise unpaid internships.

All of these placement year roles have been vetted by YSJ and so you can be confident that the opportunities meet the criteria.

Finding your own placements

You may have a company in mind that particularly appeals to you, or you may have a contact willing to offer you an experience within their firm.  You can apply to any role in any industry, so long as it meets the University’s criteria for an appropriate year placement.

You need to take a Placement DBS / ISA Requirement request form to your prospective placement provider to find out if you need DBS clearance and ISA registration. The form should be returned to Registry or the Student Advice Desk:

If you have found your own placement, rather than applying through the University’s ‘Jobs and Opportunities’ page, it is crucial that your placement is authorised by the team beforehand.  There are many factors that the University has to consider, such as Health and Safety, support and appropriate relevance to your studies.  Once your form has been authorised by the team, you may accept your placement.

Useful websites for searching for placement opportunities include:

Accepting an offer of a placement

A job offer will typically come in writing from an employer in the form of a contract of employment outlining the job role and setting out the terms and conditions of employment for the role. All students must complete a Placement Approval Form and pass to the Careers, Placements and Student Opportunities team straight away via

Placement approval form (41.2 KB)

You cannot accept a placement that you have found yourself until your placement has been authorised by the Careers, Placements and Student Opportunities team.

Your acceptance of a Year in Industry placement job is firm and binding.  It is not appropriate for you to change your mind about your placement, except in very exceptional circumstances.  If this situation occurs, you will need to have a discussion with your School, or with the Careers, Placements and Student Opportunities team.   

If you are unable to find a placement

The Careers, Placements & Student Opportunities team as well as your School will offer as much support as we can to help you find a suitable placement. This can involve 1:1s to look at your CV and applications to ensure you are presenting yourself appropriately and help in locating opportunities. If your find yourself without a placement and change your mind about undertaking the Year in Industry you can transfer to the 3-year programme as long as this is completed by the second week into your third year.

Placement Year Criteria

York St John University reserves the right to withhold approval of any placement opportunity on the grounds of concerns about the suitability of the placement and/or the terms and conditions associated with the proposed role.

The following are important criteria that the university will consider before confirming an opportunity to be suitable for a Placement Year. If you find a placement opportunity that interests you please consider these criteria yourself before submitting the placement approval form.  Some of the criteria will require you to provide supporting materials which are indicated.

The placement opportunity must contain elements of challenge commensurate with the acquisition of experiences that could directly contribute to the attainment of a graduate destination.    

Although many placements will contain relatively unskilled tasks at some point, for the majority of the role, you should be operating at a level that will support, with developing skills and experiences, an application for graduate level work or further study. As part of the approval process, you will need to show Careers and Placements evidence that this will be the case. Evidence could include a written job description, a letter or an agreement document signed by the placement provider.  

The placement is with an organisation that is legally constituted and operates in line with UK/EU employment legislation or equivalent

Ensure the organisation complies with legislation around issues such as: paying at least the minimum wage; compliance with health and safety legislation; providing adequate time off for annual leave, and provision for sick leave.   

The placement organisation must provide you with a contract of employment prior to you starting work for them

If the organisation has no previous experience with these type of documents then the university can provide assistance.  A copy of your contract of employment must be provided to the Placements Team before the commencement of any placement activity on behalf of the employer.

The placement organisation must provide evidence to the university that it has full public and employee liability insurance in force, which provides at least an equivalent degree of cover in respect of you as a student which it provides for the placement employer’s full-time employees

This information will be requested in the Placement Agreement, which must be completed prior to the start of a placement.

The employer should be able to provide a written policy on health, safety and welfare provision.  The employer should be willing and able to confirm in writing that all relevant statutory duties in respect of health and safety and welfare are being complied with

This should be documented in your contract of employment.  The university’s expectations are outlined in the Placement Agreement, which must be completed prior to the start of a placement.

If you require a Student Visa this needs to be in place in advance of the placement starting

If you are a student studying under a Student Visa then you will need to ensure that the terms of your visa cover the full duration of study, including the Placement Year, regardless of where your eventual placement might be located.  You should consult with the university’s Visa Compliance Team to discuss this issue in detail to ensure you are fully informed as to the implications of this option before making any placement commitments.

The employer should be fully aware of your status as a placement student and be willing to afford you the time and opportunities to acquire experiences that can contribute to your placement learning and reflection.  They should also be willing to interact with representatives of the university in their supervision of your placement  

The employer must be willing to offer you the opportunities to learn and develop, and also be aware of the requirement for you to produce reflective work about your time with them for evaluation purposes.  If the work of the employer has confidential elements to it then this is covered in the Placement Agreement, which must be completed prior to the start of a placement.

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