In this final post of the placements series, we’re going to put forward some ideas about how you can stay involved with university whilst you’re away on placement and ways that you can make the most of your experience. If you have any more questions about placements that we’ve not answered in this series, leave us a comment, send us a tweet (@productdes) or get in touch with Liz Vassilakes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fellow students are also encouraged to ask the final years in the studio.
It’s really important to keep in touch with university whilst you’re away on placement. Your university e-mail account and Student Central are some of the only links you will have with tutors and the placements office, so it’s essential to check these regularly and keep an eye on updates and alerts. University e-mail can be forwarded to a personal account, so there’s no excuse!
One of the requirements of the product design placement year is the hand in of a report documenting your experiences and analysing the developments that you have made. It may seem obvious, but start it early! The deadline will creep up on you, especially as it falls quite early in the year, rather than at the end of your placement.
Although it seems like you’ll be able to remember everything, unless you keep a diary or log of your activities and learning, you will probably forget valuable information that you need for your final report. Keeping note of important dates such as when you started and finished your placement will also help you with job applications after you graduate.
Many placements will offer the chance to build a body of work that can be used for portfolios and essential skills that can be used on CV. It’s easier to keep these up to date throughout the industrial year and having a complete CV and portfolio will make it easier and less time consuming to apply for jobs during final year.
If you undertake any specific training or qualifications during your time away from uni, be sure to document these and get hold of any required paperwork. Asking for a reference off your employer can also be a great way to demonstrate how fantastic you are to potential employers!
Take every opportunity to experience new things and gain skills, after all, that is the point of a placement year, but, most importantly – enjoy yourself!