Sandwich courses: Enabling student employability

Sandwich courses: Enabling student employability

The UK is known for its sandwich courses which ensure better employability.  At Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) the design of the courses are in conjunction with industry specialists — including over 70 professional bodies — so students can be sure that they are being delivered the skills that employers are looking for. In fact, SHU has the largest number of students in Britain on courses that include a year’s work placement.

Sandwich course (or optional work placement) is when a student undertakes a year’s paid work placement usually between the second year and the final year of the degree programme.

While applying for an undergraduate course, students just need to mention that they wish to undertake the sandwich option. SHU currently has placement opportunities from companies all over the UK, as well as the potential to apply for a placement in any part of the world. Students may need a visa to undertake a work placement overseas.

The placement team at SHU advertise placement opportunities to students through a dedicated placement website and provide support throughout the recruitment process.

The placement support officers organise teaching sessions — including CV writing, developing interview skills, filling out job applications — to support students during their search for a work placement. It is imperative that students apply for the same and then undergo a recruitment process, where they may be shortlisted and invited for an interview.

When students are recruited by a company during the placement year, the student has a designated role and job responsibilities. Work placements are planned with learning outcomes and students are allocated a placement support tutor, who is the student’s main contact during that year and is also responsible for visiting the student and the employer to discuss the former’s performance.

Sandwich courses / placement year helps students understand the connection between their course and how it relates to their career. They provide the valuable experience of a real working environment, enabling students to learn about how organisations operate. This experience offers many benefits including:

*Improved professional and technical skills
* The chance to apply your learning to the workplace
* Competitive advantage at graduate job interviews
* Improved personal skills such as teamwork, project management and presenting
* Better academic performance when you return to university
* Greater understanding of industry and commercial environments
* Enhanced job opportunities — some students secure graduate jobs with their *lacement employers or through contacts they have made
* A potential higher salary after you graduate
* Possible sponsorship from your placement employer
* Further, students can earn anything from GBP 8000 to GBP 17000 per year during their placement year depending on the subject they choose and company they work.
The students at the end of the placement year become confident individuals who are ready to face the challenges of the dynamic work environment.