Can you offer a student work placement?

As you may be aware we are trying to enable as many students as possible to undertake a placement here at the University. As well as paid placements which are arranged via HR, we also need to be in a position to offer incentives for students to undertake ‘unpaid’ placements. 

I would like to clarify how to do this, while complying with our legal/financial requirements. If a placement is really unpaid (ie the student is given no payment of any kind) there are no issues.

If you wish to give the student some financial incentive, such as a bursary you should only do this in the following ways:

  • Pay reasonable expenses such as travel (via expenses form with receipts or a travel card) and/or lunch allowance (again via expenses form and receipts)

  • By a bursary which should not be made as a one off payment but rather as a weekly payment on Form 7.  In order that the student does not pay national insurance this payment should not be more than £110 per week. Students should be told that they need to complete a P46 (available from Payroll) or else they will be taxed on this amount. If they work anywhere else but earn less than £6475 in any one tax year they can claim a tax refund from the Inland Revenue (refer them to Payroll for further advice).

 Please ensure that in future unpaid placement students are only engaged on this basis.

Many thanks

Professor Helen Higson