A building engineering student discusses the benefits of year out work placements

Students would benefit from gaining work experience whilst studying as it gives them the opportunity to put theory into practice.

Christine Saeverud

Although summer placements are one way of gaining experience, the short time involved doesn't always allow students to fulfil their full potential.

Additionally, many companies prefer to have students on a year out placement.

The firm is able to evaluate the student in different positions over a longer period of time, and in turn, longer exposure allows the student a more balanced view to how the industry actually works.

Some universities offer sandwich courses, with the second or third year spent working in the industry.

However, if this is not the case, you can still suspend your studies for a year whilst working.

Real life experience

I was nominated for the Women in Property 2008 Student Awards scheme during my second year at university and one of the sponsors of the award offered me a year out work placement, which I accepted.

It proved very beneficial and very educational. I worked on site and in the office, which gave me a varied experience and an insight into the processes involved with construction projects.

I was also very fortunate to be trusted with an important role, which came with a lot of responsibilities.

I am now left with valuable experience and skills which I can transfer to other jobs in the future.

The experience has helped put the theories I learnt at university into perspective.

I would strongly recommend taking a year out.

The benefits gained are much more important than increasing the overall time of your education. And, on graduation you are a step ahead of others.