Placement Tips

20 May

Placement is an important part of many courses. Important skills are learnt and more importantly practiced. It is also an opportunity to develop and consolidate interpersonal skills in the workplace context. Placement Info is very essential for students in order to get succeed.

This page is designed to highlight the experiences of other students on placement and provide some useful tips on how to make the most of the (your) experience.

Here are few placement tips for students.

  • Ring your placement before you start to confirm the time/date you will be expected to be there and the name of your supervisor or person you will need to ask for on arrival.
  • Ensure you arrive on time.
  • Take a notebook, as well as any other material you may need. Use your notebook to write down any relevant information/ names you need to remember. – you will get a lot of new information on the first few days.
  • Get off to a good start – greeting colleagues in the workplace is important.
  • Look for friends/allies who can support you; be they other students or staff.
  • Be clear about what the expectations are from the university regarding your placement, how you are going to be assessed and what you need to do to demonstrate that you have met the requirements.
  • Remember you are a student and are there to learn. You are not expected to know everything! Allow yourself time to learn and don’t expect yourself to know everything on the first day and do everything perfectly.
  • Have realistic expectations – learning is a career long process of development. You are not expected to be perfect. You are expected to understand requirements, acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, work hard and develop a plan to build skills in areas that need it. Placement is the beginning of a process that is carried through to the paid workplace as part of life long learning.
  • Placements are also a good opportunity to learn about workplace dynamics. Sometimes the culture of the place will have a big impact on your experience and it can be good as a student to observe how an organisation runs.
  • Be critically observant – WATCH and LISTEN but don’t necessarily comment! – not everything that happens on placement goes to plan or expectations.
  • Ask questions of yourself:
  • What did I do well?
  • What could be improved?
  • What needs to happen to make the required changes?
  • Who can help me?
  • Being seen to be confident is important. That doesn’t mean knowing everything and not making mistakes. It does mean taking responsibility and acknowledging the mistakes and getting on with finding solutions.
  • Be helpful – look for the little extras you can do instead of waiting to be directed to action.
  • Remember that the people you are working with on placement could end up being your colleagues in the future, or provide a reference. Showing enthusiasm and interest may help with job prospects after your graduation.
  • Talk to trusted allies to debrief when issues arise that surprise you. The allies may be someone on the placement like another student, member of staff, uni supervisor or someone removed from the workplace like a counsellor at uni.
  • The uni counsellors can be very helpful and give confidential support and advice. The help can include: clarifying ideas, getting independent feedback, problem solving, affirmation, or working through issues with supervision.

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