Archive | Placements Office

Placements Office life in pictures

With my thoughts already swerving towards Christmas (I love Christmas!) and the end of the first semester in sight, I thought that rather than write loads about all the exciting things we are working on in the Placements Office, it might be nice to show you instead. So, here is a short photo diary of the typical day in our Placements Office, showing you what we Placement Officers get up to!

Here’s Vicki and Rob in the office, working hard. Coordinating the placements is at the heart of what we do; we ensure students have a meaningful, beneficial placement year, during which they are able to put into practice their academic learning so far, in a way that adds value to the host organisation.

Keeping in touch with students, employers and colleagues.

Keeping in touch with students, employers and colleagues.

Our office is located on Highfield Campus, room 2/4039. Students are welcome to pop by with any questions they might have regarding placements or internships. We can offer quick advice there and then, or arrange a 1:1 meeting to discuss things in more detail.

We regularly meet with students to discuss placements and internships.

We regularly meet with students to discuss placements and internships.

A variety of employers have delivered guest lectures to our students this Autumn as part of our Professional Skills sessions, providing students with most up-to-date information about what the industry is looking for. Our team has organised the Professional Skills sessions; we have delivered some of the lectures ourself, and in addition to guest speakers from the industry, we have also hosted academics and central University staff, who have shared their expertise with the students. Continue Reading →


The jobs board arrives!

It’s finally here! When we first started the Placements Office we knew we wanted to create a great way to advertise our opportunities to students within the Faculty. It’s taken a while to get there but on Monday, we went live with the board to second year students on BSc Marketing and BSc Accounting & Finance. We’ll roll it out to the rest of our students in the Faculty over the coming weeks.

We hope you find the board intuitive and hassle-free. You will see that we are primarily using it to advertise year-long placements but in time more internships and other short-term projects will appear for all students whether at the Winchester School of Art, Southampton Law School, or Southampton Business School.

Developing the jobs board was not without its frustrations and looking back, we learnt a lot in the process. Some of the lessons learned are applicable to all sorts of project management so here are my tips for anyone embarking on an ambitious development:

#1 – Research the competition

When creating anything new, it’s really worth checking out what others with a similar product are doing. This works in two ways: first, you can observe what works for others, and build it into your design. Secondly, by exploring the limitations or frustrations you encounter when using someone else’s product, you can reflect and make sure that your design doesn’t have these flaws.

#2 – Think of your user

When embarking on a project it can be easy to get bogged down in making it as advanced, or technical, or as complex as possible. You think you’ll have a product that blows everyone away, but in reality, you might just impress a few people with your know-how, and annoy the rest of your user base. When making something for other people, remember the people you are making it for! Imagine their experience, put yourself in their shoes. Does it provide a good experience for them?


Developing the board provided a great tool for reflection.

#3 – Build delays into your project plan

Continue Reading →


What’s on the cards for the Management School in 2014/15?

Just in case you hadn’t realised, it’s Freshers Week! For many of us this is a time of much  anticipation and excitement. A new academic year often brings about work-related resolutions for me such as ‘to work smarter not harder’ and ‘to always take a lunch break’! The Placements Office has come along way since it was created in the Spring, but it is great to get started on a new academic year and officially launch our team to all staff and students in the faculty.

2014/15 is going to be particularly exciting for the Management School. There are lots of changes ahead; new staff, new facilities, new programmes and new students. The Placements Office builds on the successes of the Management School and the Faculty of Business and Law whilst bringing  together lots of different colleagues and projects from across the University. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Management School  Employability Co-ordinators, The Education Development Office, Careers Destinations, the Alumni team and the wonderfully enthusiastic and determined  Placements staff from across the university.

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to visit some of our Marketing students on placement at IBM Southbank. They have already completed 3 months of their placement and I was amazed at their personal and professional development to date. It was wonderful to hear how they had already made such an impact on their departments. We discussed their progress and set targets for the coming months. It is often easy to make over ambitious goals at the start of something new and then reality kicks in… the phone rings when you were trying  to get out for lunch or your project management software decides it doesn’t like your new password…. so resolutions have to be revised. We shouldn’t feel this is a failure; rather we should be proud of our enthusiasm and desire to change things for the better.

IBM Visit

Meeting the Schools and Universities Attraction Manager at IBM

This year I hope The Placements Office  can make a real difference to the Management School by:

–          Improving communication to staff and students about employability and enterprise initiatives and events

–          Preparing students for their placement year through the Professional Skills Module

–          Providing employers with one point of contact for the Management School

Looking forward to working with you over the coming year!



What’s in store for WSA this year

It has been an exciting few months since the creation of the Faculty of Business and Law Placements Office. Vicki, Rob and I have successfully sent off our first group of placement students, who, we are proud to report, have all settled into their jobs well and are having a great time. After a summer of building the required processes and structures, and interacting with various employers, now is a good time to have a look at the new academic year that is upon us and talk a bit about what we are looking to achieve.

I’m excited to work with Winchester School of Art, mapping current employer engagement activities and learning about all the exciting collaborations that are taking place between the students and the industry. Whilst the courses offered at the School do not yet have any placements as an integral part of the course structure, students are highly motivated to gain industry experience throughout their studies. The teaching at WSA is heavily intertwined with industry expertise; our academics have a wealth of connections and experience, which benefit our students.

I would like to see an increase in the number of internship opportunities available for WSA students – a lot is already being done with regard to this, and in the coming months I will continue this work. In addition, I am working with the programme leaders for Fine Art, Fashion and Textile Design, Fashion Marketing/Management, Graphic Arts and Games Design to identify new opportunities of engaging with the industry.

Until now, the academics have facilitated a lot of the work-based learning opportunities themselves. Whilst valuable to students, these individual arrangements mean that there has not been a connected, cohesive approach to offering internships to students. This year, my aim is to bring all the work-based learning opportunities together by recording and advertising them on our Placements Jobs Board, which will be available to students soon. Academics have the support of the Placements Office in facilitating these opportunities and we will guide students in their selection and application process for the various opportunities.

I look forward to working closely with the University’s Career Destinations team, WSA’s Employability Coordinator and all the academics to achieve even better work opportunities for the students. And, most of all, I am excited about working with the students, finding out what their requirements and thoughts on employability are, and see them grow and develop through liaison with the industry.

Best regards,


The (difficult) first post…

The first blog post is always the most problematic: who will read it?! What should we write about?! How will we measure success? How long should it be?!

Answering the first of these questions is the most important, and for us, it’s quite easy: we’re writing this blog for current and future students interested in placement and internship opportunities, and employers of all sizes looking for ways to engage and collaborate with a diverse and intelligent student body.

The second question might not come quite so easily, so let’s introduce ourselves. The Placements Office was formed early in 2014 and since then we’ve been enjoying setting up shop, meeting a huge network of students, employers, careers practitioners, and colleagues across the University who are eager to get involved in placements, internships, and other work-based learning. You can read more about each of us here. We’re really looking forward to welcoming students back to campus in a few weeks’ time, and are delighted that 100% of our first cohort of BSc Marketing students were successful in finding a placement – well done all!

This blog will be a place to share our thoughts and experiences on work-based learning, and also a place for students to reflect on their own experiences. We welcome enquiries from anyone, whether you are a student, employer, or any other related body, who would like to submit a guest post – just get in touch!

In terms of measuring success, we’ll be keeping an eye on page views and the like, and of course welcome your comments at the bottom of posts. Our ultimate measure, though, will be our success in engaging more students and more employers in taking part in work-based learning.

How long should it be? We think this should do!

So please browse our new website, discover more about placements and their value, and let us know what you think!

We look forward to working with you,


Riikka, Rob, and Vicki

The Placements Team