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Placements are similar to internships in that they are structured work experience schemes through which university students enter the workplace, discover what it is like to work in a particular career sector and to develop useful skills. The term placement, rather than internship, has traditionally been used when a student had to undertake the work experience as part of their degree course – but these days some employers use the terms placement and internship interchangeably.
What kinds of placement are there? A placement year (otherwise known as a year-in-industry or a sandwich year) typically lasts between 24 and 50 weeks and is held between your penultimate and final year of studies. Summer placements, unsurprisingly, run during the university summer holidays; they are typically aimed at penultimate-year students, but some might be open to other year groups.
If you make a good impression as a placement student, many employers will either offer you a job for after graduation or put you straight through to the final stages of their graduate recruitment process; in some cases, they may also sponsor (AKA cover some of the costs of) your final year.