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Work experience explained

We encourage students at Bucks New University to gain work experience to develop their employability skills alongside studying with us. Common terminology related to work based and placement learning. From ASET Good Practice Guide for Work based and Placement Learning in Higher Education, page 9.

Company visits: Usually undertaken as a supervised, group activity either as part of the curriculum or outside, as an enrichment activity for students.

Insight days: Offered and advertised by employers, aimed at first or second year undergraduate students.

Internships/Vacation placements: A short term placement opportunity usually offered and advertised by employers although may also be secured through a speculative application. Taken by students at any level of study in a vacation time or part-time during an academic year. Elsewhere, the term 'internships' is used in another context to describe opportunities for new graduates.

Practice placements: Governed by a formal agreement between the Higher Education provider and employers, these placements are usually undertaken on programmes where qualification leads to a licence to practice such as in health or education. Students will often do multiple practice placements as part of their programme of study and employers may be involved in the assessment of students.

Projects: Negotiated pieces of work, either group based or individual that may be sourced by the Higher Education provider or the student and can be located at the employer's premises.

Sandwich placements: A placement equivalent of a year's academic study (30-52 weeks depending on the Higher Education provider's regulations). Typically taken by undergraduate students as the penultimate year of their programme.

Semester placements: If a full time placement, it would be equivalent of a semester's academic study (12-15 weeks depending on the Higher Education provider's regulations). May also be used to describe a part time placement where a student integrates spending 1 or 2 days a week throughout the semester on placement with their academic study.

Semester or Year Abroad: When a student opts to study at an overseas Higher Education provider which has collaborative/reciprocal agreement with their home Higher Education provider, this could include a period of work or may be study only. This may be part of, or additional to, their degree e.g. Erasmus, the EU educational exchange programme.

Work shadowing: Short term, informal activities where a student will spend time on company premises but will have no contract or expectation of making a working contribution; it is an observation opportunity.

Work based award: A full programme where the employment setting is used as a contextual focus for the learning regularly throughout the degree; either retrospectively through reflection or prospectively through the setting of specific projects.


For any questions you may have regarding this or queries relating to student employment, please contact us:

Telephone: 01494 603 163