Employer's guide to working with USW students

At the University of South Wales, employability is at the heart of our courses. We offer our students excellent opportunities and prospects, from projects based on working practices to time in the workplace.

Our dedicated Placement Team will work in partnership with you throughout the placement process. Each Work Placement Partner is responsible for specialist subject areas and will be your first point of contact to advise on the types of opportunities and student expectations. They will also provide links to the wider range of services and events available at USW.

With a diverse community of students based on campuses located across South Wales, USW is a hub of skills, knowledge and experience that can add value to your business.

Type of work experience

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst to transforming the way we work. With the guidance of the Work Placement Partner, all the placements below can be undertaken on a remote basis.

  • Sandwich Placement - Up to 12 months duration, typically taken as the penultimate year of study.
  • Summer Placement - Up to 3 months duration, that can be offered on a flexible basis.
  • 10 Week Internship - Specific to the Business School undergraduate degree courses and mandatory in the second year of study.
  • Short Placement - Typically 30-70 hours – integrated into undergraduate degree courses, typically offered as part of a work placement module in the second or third year of study. This could also include volunteering opportunities in the third sector.
  • Live Brief/Virtual Placement - Negotiated pieces of work set by the employer, either undertaken on an individual or group basis.

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  • Our students are studying courses rooted in the real world. They can make a valuable contribution to your organisation from day one – whether you’re in the private, public or third sector.
  • Gain an enthusiastic student with initiative and knowledge who is keen and able to apply this in practice.
  • Take forward a project or area of research to help the organisation overcome an issue or problem.
  • Gain new ideas, a fresh perspective and a valuable asset in the workplace.
  • Benefit from an extra pair of hands at peak times of the year, while acquiring early access to tomorrow’s talent from USW.
  • Make a significant contribution to your talent sourcing strategy on a trial basis without the commitment. However, placement students often remain with their host organisation part-time alongside their studies and/or offered full-time jobs once they graduate.

  • Broaden career options and provide insight into job sector (private, public or third sector).
  • Provide a taster of the working world, company culture and team ethic within your organisation.
  • An opportunity to put theory into practice with a project management approach.
  • Allow the student to develop transferable skills such as team working, communication and commercial awareness.
  • Acquire valuable networking contacts with industry professionals and future employers.
  • Develop job search, application and interview techniques while enhancing the student’s CV making them more employable.

  • Placement experiences allow us to feedback into the teaching and design of our courses to ensure the programme of study reflects the needs of industry while producing work-ready graduates.
  • Enable us to connect with the rapidly changing business, public and voluntary sectors of the economy.
  • Placements allow us the opportunity of developing further relationships for research, consultancy and other business engagement.

    Taking time to prepare for the placement will be beneficial for you and the student. Due to the short-term nature of most placements it is important to integrate the student into your organisation as quickly as possible. 
      Before the student arrives, check you have addressed the following points: 
      • Has the student been given appropriate joining instructions? 
      • Have staff been informed? 
      • Who will be responsible for supervising/ mentoring the student? 
      • Are there work tasks/specific project for the student? 
      • Has the work area/station been prepared? 
      • Does the student have an IT Account? 
      • Is any other essential equipment required? 
      • What would you expect the student to have achieved on completion?

      Your placement student should have a full induction to the organisation in the same way as a regular employee. 

      The following should be provided: 

      • A tour of the area where the student will be working. 
      • Health and Safety briefing - including emergency exits, evacuation procedures, first-aid facilities, accident reporting and specific hazards. 
      • Working procedures – absence procedures, working times, arrangements for breaks, discipline procedures, and telephone, internet and email policy. 
      • Security or confidentiality issues of which the student should be aware. 

      The student will also benefit from an understanding of the organisation, the various roles and the company values and culture. This information may already be on your intranet and can be covered within the first few days of placement in person or by student self-study. 

      • General information about your organisation. 
      • Who are your customers/stakeholders?

      For many students this may be their first time in the workplace, and they may be nervous and take a while to adapt.


      The following points will ensure a successful placement: 

      • There should be regular meetings with the supervisor/mentor to check progress and offer guidance where applicable. 
      • Set clear goals and objectives for the student to achieve. 
      • Address any concerns about performance as soon as possible, thus allowing time for things to be addressed. 
      • Utilise current skills by assigning suitably challenging tasks. 
      • Provide learning and development opportunities. 
      • Provide a good balance of autonomy and direction. 
      • Allow the student to be part of a team, where they can share their own unique insights and ideas. 

      For organisations that host sandwich placements or 10 week Internships there is usually a midpoint meeting with the academic tutor, the supervisor/ manager and the placement student where progress can be monitored, and any issues addressed.

      Your Work Placement Partner will contact you at the end of the placement with an online feedback form. Responses will provide a valuable means of measuring the success of the student’s placement and help academic tutors ensure the programme of study reflects the needs of industry.

      Once the student secures a placement, the opportunity needs to be registered with the University and internal processes undertaken to ensure the placement can proceed. Therefore, please allow sufficient time between the candidate selection and the placement start date.

      The University has a duty of care for its students and appropriate health and safety checks will be made before the placement can commence.

      We require you to complete the following online forms:

      • Health and safety (general) – gathers information such as the employer liability insurance and risk assessment information. Lasts 3 years with a copy of the employer’s liability insurance certificate (or details) requested on renewal.
      • Health and safety (specific) – relates directly to a student or group of students for each placement.
      • Health and safety (international) – requested if you appoint an International student as required by UKVI.

       Full health and safety guidance is available at

      We would expect students on sandwich and summer placement to be paid as regular employees and subject to both tax and NI contributions. Students undertaking shorter placements will not require payment, but we encourage the reimbursement of travelling expenses where possible. However, if you wish to reward a student for particularly good work this is at your discretion.

      Other benefits that can attract a student may include paid accommodation; free/discounted snacks, meals and beverages; training and development; contributions towards study costs, tuition fees etc.

      Role description

      • Offer a clear description of the tasks the student will be expected to perform. 
      Content and Development 

      • Ensure that the student is fully inducted and receives appropriate support and training in order for them to complete their assigned tasks.  
      • Utilise the student’s skills by assigning suitably challenging tasks, but also limit the assignment of excessive unskilled tasks. 


      • Assign a supervisor to mentor and support the student.
      • The supervisor should organise regular sessions to check progress and offer guidance where applicable.
      • An induction programme should be organised by the assigned supervisor and a discussion of mutual expectations should take place during this period. 
      Working environment and Company culture
      • Welcome the student and make them feel part of the team.
      • Celebrate the student’s contributions and achievements in order to boost their confidence. 
      • An appropriate work station needs to be provided to the student so that they are able to access all the resources they need to complete their assigned tasks.

      USW offers a free vacancy service to employers to advertise work placements, volunteering experiences, graduate opportunities and student jobs.

       Using our CareersConnect vacancy system, you can register your organisation and post your opportunities once you have agreed to our Terms and Conditions. 

      https://careers.southwales.ac.uk/ employers/advertising-your-opportunities-usw-students-graduates/

      When posting an opportunity, provide as much detail as possible in a way that will attract and inform our students. Once your opportunity has been approved, we will share via job alerts, the student intranet sites and our website.

      Note: Some courses match students to opportunities based on several factors: student interest, location of placement, attendance mode, work pattern. There will be no need for you to add these opportunities to CareersConnect.


      Disclaimer: Please note this will be a highly competitive process for both students and organisations, therefore we cannot guarantee your placement will be filled.