Professional Practice Years - real work, real experience, real prospects

2 out of 3 employers state an internship with them was the best route to employment 

RateMyPlacement 2015

61% of employers rated work experience as "the most popular qualification" among those presented

Universum 2016

In 2016, 32% of entry-level positions in the U.K. were filled by graduates who previously worked for their companies, either by completing a placement year or an internship of minimum 6 months.

High Fliers Research ltd 2017

What is a professional practice year?

A professional practice year is a year-long work experience opportunity that most Home and EU students can undertake and it will form part of your degree. You can undertake a real job at a real company whilst being supported by the Student Development and Awards team throughout that year. Your professional practice year must be related to the course learning outcomes you are studying at the University of Bedfordshire.   

A professional practice year can also be known as a placement year. Don’t fall into the trap of just searching for the term ‘professional practice year’ when looking for work. In essence you are seeking a year’s worth of full time work that can count towards your professional practice year.

A professional practice year can also be advertised as any of the following:

  • placement or placement year
  • sandwich year
  • industrial placement
  • internship
  • fixed term contract
  • year in industry

Professional practice years as part of your course

You would seek and secure your professional practice year during year 2 of your undergraduate degree.

Your start date is dependent upon your exams and the employer’s needs. Professional practice years begin any time between June – September once you have finished your year 2 exams and dependent upon your employer's demand. You will be required to work full-time, which is 37 hours per week, and for a minimum of 48 weeks (excluding annual leave). 

After you have finished your professional practice years you would return to finish your final taught year at the university. 

How will undertaking a professional practice year improve your graduate prospects?

Professional practice years can give you the opportunity to gain skills specific to your studying subject or industry of choice. It also increases your knowledge of an industry or sector, allowing you to make better informed decisions about your future career choices. 

A professional practice year is also an opportunity  for you to expand your horizons and be involved in a team-based working environment, which provides a welcome contrast to the typically more individual-centric approach taken to academic study. From undertaking a professional practice year, you can then effectively evidence your experiences on your CV, providing documented contextual proof for skills and abilities you've gained during that year, coupled with a reference.

Completing a professional practice year can sometimes lead directly to subsequent employment with the same employer following graduation. It can be “a foot at the door” that could lead to a temporary or permanent contract and regardless of this the contacts acquired and networking done during that year will have put you in contact with people who may well be able to help you enter and progress into your chosen career.

Bedfordshire University

Student Experience» Studying at Bedfordshire» Student Services» Careers and Employability Service» Professional Practice Years