This page provides information for students who are in their 2nd year of study in the academic year 20/21.
We appreciate that Covid-19 has made it more challenging to secure a placement. To make it easier to get and complete a placement during this time, we have introduced some flexible placement options. We know it's a lot to take in, so we've pulled together some answers to the FAQs relating to flexible placements. We hope you find them helpful, but please get in touch with your Placement Coordinator if you need to talk things through.
This page was last updated in December 2020. Every effort is made to keep these pages as up to date as possible, but please be mindful that some content may be subject to change depending on the latest government guidance.
- What happens if I don't secure a placement in the time frames?
If you’re on an optional placement degree and you do not secure your placement by 31st August 2021, you will automatically progress to final year and will need to enrol as a final year student. If you are in the final stages of a recruitment process for a placement on 31st August, we will consider this on a case-by-case basis. Please keep us informed of your progress.
If you’re on a compulsory placement degree, where reasonably possible, we still expect you to undertake a placement lasting 48 weeks, or several shorter placements of as near to 48 weeks as possible. However, we appreciate that in the current climate securing a placement is more challenging and so the minimum amount of weeks you must secure is 20. If you reach the 31st of August and you have not yet secured your placement, you will receive support and guidance from a dedicated team within Careers and Placements. You will work together with the team to ensure you gain valuable work experience during your placement year, and the team will be in touch to discuss the next steps.
- How can I make sure I'm engaging with the Placements Team?
There are lots of things you can do!
Arrange a phone or video appointment with our team of Placement Coordinators through Aston Futures.
Book in for a mock interview with the Placements Coordinators. You can do this by emailing your College Placement Team and requesting one.
Attend our events. We hold a number of events throughout the year, including skills sessions, careers fairs, and events with organisations.
Read your emails. We send regular emails with helpful advice for your placement search, as well as roles tailored to your area of study.
- I have secured a placement for next year. What happens now?
If you have secured your placement, you will need to email the Placement Coordinator aligned to your College and let them know. You will need to tell them the following:
- Company name
- Job title
- Start date
- End date (if you have it)
- Address of the employer
If your UK-based employer has said your placement will not go ahead, please speak to your Placement Coordinator, and they will support you in finding an alternative.
If you have secured an international placement, we hope this will go ahead as usual in 2021, but of course, we’re unable to predict what is going to happen with the Covid-19 pandemic. We are in touch with our partner universities and international employers around the world, and they are keeping us updated on their situation. Some placements may start late, be cancelled or switch to remote placements. If we become aware of any late starts or cancellations, we’ll help you to explore alternative options. In return, please keep in contact with your Placement Coordinator.
If you’ve secured a UK-based placement for next year and your employer has stated that your placement will likely go ahead (either virtually or physically) or simply start later than planned, all we ask is that you keep in regular contact with them in case the situation changes, and let us know if your start date changes.
- Has the placement assessment changed due to coronavirus?
No. You will still need to complete reflective log questions, as well as the College-specific projects such as presentations, posters or blogs. If you secure a placement under the new flexible placement options, you will still be able to complete your placement assessment. You’ll be able to chat with your Placement Tutor if you need support with this. You will be assigned a Placement Tutor at the beginning of the new academic year.
- I saw something about 'Entry-Level Plus' - what is that?
Entry Level Plus is one of our flexible placement options. We usually ask that your placement be graduate-level, however under the circumstances, we will consider other forms of work experience. This may include roles in areas such as call centres, administration, retail, hospitality, tutoring, sports coaching and personal training, charity and social care. For more information about Entry Level Plus, speak to your Placement Coordinator.
- What is a Statement of Motivation?
If you secure a placement that falls under ‘Entry Level Plus’, you will need to submit a statement of motivation. You will be required to answer three questions:
- What is your motivation for taking this role?
- How is the role going to support you to complete an academic assignment?
- What is the relevance of this role to your future aspirations, and how will it support your applications for graduate-level jobs?
This will be reviewed by the Placements Team and will determine whether the placement meets the criteria and can be approved.
- Will part-time paid roles be accepted?
Yes, as long as a minimum of 16 hours per week is completed. If your role comes under ‘Entry-Level Plus’, you will need to complete a statement of motivation, as discussed above. We’d encourage you to look at any current part-time roles you hold, and see if there’s an opportunity for this to form your placement.
- Can I set up a business for my placement?
If you’re thinking of setting up a business, or you’re already self-employed, you may be able to use this as your placement year. This would be classed as an enterprise placement and would need the approval of our colleagues in BSEEN. You will need to complete an enterprise application send it directly to BSEEN, who will assess if the business is viable. The deadline for enterprise placement applications is 1st August 2021. If you are interested in an enterprise placement, get in touch with your Placement Coordinator for more details.
- Can I work for a family business for my placement?
Possibly! We’ll consider placements in family businesses on a case-by-case basis. We would need to see an outline of the business and the details of your responsibilities if a job description is not available. If it’s an Entry Level Plus role, you will also need to submit a statement of motivation.
- What is the minimum amount of hours/weeks that I will need to complete?
You will need to complete a minimum of 16 hours per week, for 20 weeks in order for your placement to be approved. We would encourage you to complete as close to 48 weeks as possible. If you are unable to complete 48 weeks because of a delayed start date, you should consider topping it up with additional work experience.
- I'm an international student. Can I do a placement in my home country?
We will consider this on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to talk to us about the possibility of doing this, please speak to our International Placements Team.
- I have questions about Erasmus, who do I contact?
If you have secured an international placement and are eligible for Erasmus+ funding, you will receive this when you arrive in your destination country. You will not receive your funding if you are carrying out your placement from the UK remotely. If you have further questions about student funding, you can speak to the Hub and Erasmus team.
- Will one semester/term of virtual study abroad count as a placement year?
- What if there is still a travel ban?
At this point, it’s difficult to know what will happen in the future. We are closely monitoring the situation regarding international travel, taking into consideration FCO advice, government guidance, and the availability and cover of insurance policies.
- Can I do a placement after final year?
If you are on a degree with a compulsory placement, it is a requirement to complete this before you progress into the final year. You would not be able to do a placement after final year.
- What happens if my placement offer is withdrawn, or the start is delayed?
If your placement offer is withdrawn, or your start date is delayed, you will need to your Placement Coordinator as soon as possible, and they will offer advice and support.
- What do I do if I still have questions?
If we haven’t answered your question here, please do get in touch with your Placement Coordinators and they’ll be happy to help. You can email them at the addresses below, or book an appointment through Aston Futures.
- How do I get in touch with my Placement Coordinator?
There is a team of Placement Coordinators for each College. You can email the placement coordinators assigned to your college using the links below: