Written by Anca Arhip - student in the Department of History

My name is Anca Arhip and I am currently doing my placement year at Siemens, working as a Compensation and Benefits intern in their Human Resources department.

I decided to apply for a placement year very last minute, after speaking to a friend who had worked at Nissan the year before and said it was the most formative experience of her life. Seeing how much she had matured and developed professionally from her placement year, made me consider applying. Another reason I applied was the realisation that the job market is becoming more and more competitive, and a placement year would help me gain practical skills to complement the academic skills learned from university, hopefully boosting my employability when I graduate. I also knew that doing a placement year would help me evaluate my career options and give me a sense of direction about what jobs to apply for after university… and it has!

I really enjoy what I am doing right now and wish to stay in this field of work after I graduate. I have already developed many transferrable skills, ranging from soft skills like organisation and effective communication to marketing and project management skills. Learning these has been an eye-opening experience into the expectations employers have of employees and how to adapt to constantly changing environments. I feel like knowing this and having some work experience will better prepare me for full-time employment after university. One of the most helpful things I have done is to establish industry network connections with my colleagues, because it increases the amount of opportunities you have in that company. For example, one of my colleagues in the team is on a graduate scheme and has been offered a job within the company in Dubai.

The skills I have learned during my placement year have really complemented my degree in many ways. Firstly, I can now organise my work to be produced to the best of my abilities whilst meeting deadlines, instead of stressing to write essays last minute. Secondly, I am now aware of what career I want in the future and the actions I need to do in my final year of university to obtain it. Moreover, it has increased my confidence in networking with people and taking every opportunity to learn and develop.

I would recommend a placement year to everyone; it is the best opportunity to develop yourself in every aspect, and it gives you the chance to actually know what it would be like to work in a specific industry before you fully commit to it.

Would you like more information on placement years and work based learning? Are you interested in adding a placement year to your degree? Find out more information from our Placements team.