Top

What is a work placement?

Work experience or a placement as part of your course is a valuable opportunity to learn from professionals at work and put the theory you study into practice.

It’s important when you start planning your career that you give yourself any opportunity you can to remain competitive, and indeed get ahead of the competition, when it comes to developing your skills for the working world.

With more and more employers seeking experience aswell as academic achievement, in order to differentiate between candidates. A work placement during your college years will present you with the perfect chance to gain organised,. valuable working experience before you embark on a longer internship programme or go seeking that first job when you graduate. 

Think of your work placement as an introduction to what may lie ahead for you in the world of work. These placements allow you the opportunity for you to learn about yourself in a work environment; what do you excel at, what do you find difficult? What skills are your real strengths and where do you have to improve. 

Like the vast majority of internships, most work placements have some payment, though this will likely be less than that on an internship programme. The placements are normally between one and three months in duration. On some courses, placements are part of your course. This may, and in some cases does, mean that some of your final grades are dependent on tasks completed while on work placement. 

Work experience or a placement as part of your course is a valuable opportunity to learn from professionals at work and put the theory you study into practice. A placement helps develop personal and interpersonal skills, fosters self-motivation, sharpens analytical skills, enhances subject knowledge and subject-specific skills, and provides an insight into what makes businesses function. Being in a real situation also provides an enhanced understanding of the practicalities of the work environment and encourages you to consider future career paths. The importance employers attach to work-related learning is evident by the number of students who are offered a permanent job after graduation on the basis of a successful placement. Support in preparing for and finding a placement is available from your careers service or placement office. For an example of what a work placement can involve see the  National College of Ireland's Work placement brochure,