Frequently asked questions

Most USW students have the opportunity to do a short term, summer or sandwich placement.  Some placements are mandatory as part of the course and others maybe optional.  Contact the work placement team for support – USWPlacements@southwales.ac.uk

Yes, but for some international students visa conditions will need to be met.  We recommend before you start applying you talk to Immigration & International Student Advice so you are clear about what you need to do, as there are some visa requirements. 

Yes, for mandatory placements as part of the course the dates vary, but contact your faculty work placement partner or course leader for more details.  For sandwich and summer placements national recruiters normally advertise in the autumn term, although local recruiters are more flexible. 

Firstly congratulations!  Now you will need to submit a placement details form to your faculty placement partner who will then support the management of the placement.  

Yes, you will still need to enrol at the university.  As a placement year is part of your academic course, you will continue to be supported by the University and you will need to pay a tuition fee for the placement year.  However, the fee is much lower and will not exceed 20% of the standard annual University tuition fee.  On-going enrolment as a student allows access to the following:

• your student loan and financial support (including maintenance grant) from Student Money Service

• academic support  

• placement visits and support 

• library facilities including all online databases and resources

• online careers resources 

• personal support 

• careers advice and guidance

• financial advice and support from the student money team

• immigration and visa support (if applicable)

• disability support (if applicable)

• University sports and music facilities, including ongoing membership of any clubs and societies

The majority of sandwich placements are paid and will attract a salary of between £15,000 and £18,000 per annum.  The amount you could earn can vary significantly depending on the industry and location.

The employer should treat you as a regular employee.  They should appoint a supervisor and they should deliver an initial induction, as well as training and progress monitoring. 

See our job search section for information on a range of work experience opportunities including summer and sandwich placements, part time jobs and volunteering which is an excellent option for securing quality unpaid work experience.  

Work experience placements and volunteering opportunities are advertised on Unilife Connect.  You could also use Social Media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter to explore and source vacancies.

Before you can be selected for certain jobs or work placements you may be asked to undertake a DBS check.  This is most common where contact with children or vulnerable adults may be involved or where you may be required to deal with confidential or sensitive information.  A DBS check looks into your background for spent and unspent criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.  You may be asked to undertake a DBS check before you start a placement or volunteer position dependent on the nature of the work.  Full details regarding DBS checks including a ‘Helpline’ service can be found on the Government website: www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview.

If you are undertaking or have chosen to undertake a degree module that includes a period of work experience or volunteer work you will need to speak to your placement/volunteer provider to ask if they expect you to arrange your own DBS check or if they will arrange it for you.  Some organisations, particularly charities will co-ordinate and pay for your DBS check themselves.  They will provide you with full details about the process once you’ve committed to undertaking the period of volunteer work with them.  However if you are required to arrange the DBS check yourself, advice and support is available through Student Administration at your campus, you can view their guidance on DBS checks through the UniLife channel.  They also provide the following guidance on how to apply for a DBS check here.  If you have any further queries about your DBS check it is recommended that you first speak to your module tutor.

If you are undertaking compulsory work experience as part of your degree our Admissions department will have already made you aware of the need for a DBS check before enrolling on your course.  However if you still need to arrange this then you should speak to your Course Tutor and look at the details of how to apply here.  This includes information on the costs associated with having a DBS check.

You will need to liaise with your placement/volunteer provider to ask if they expect you to arrange your own DBS check or if they will arrange it for you.  Some organisations, particularly charities will co-ordinate and pay for your DBS check themselves.  They will provide you with full details about the process once you’ve committed to undertaking the period of volunteer work with them.  However you may be required to arrange the DBS check yourself, in this case advice and support is available through Student Administration at your campus.  Further advice is also available through the Government website which includes a ‘Helpline’ service: www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview.

Unless your placement/voluntary work provider has agreed to pay for your DBS check you will need to pay for all associated fees which are non-returnable (approx. cost is £58.00).  If you believe you are unable to meet the costs of your DBS check due to financial difficulties please contact the university Student Money Service for advice and guidance.

DBS checks take an average of 6 weeks to process (with some taking up to 12 weeks) so please bear this in mind when considering work placements or voluntary work particularly where you need to complete the experience by a specified date (i.e. as part of a module).

There is a different process for all International/EU students or home applicants who have not fully resided in the UK within the past 5 years.  You will need to contact Student Administration at your campus and they will advise you of how to obtain a “Certificate of Good Conduct”.