An Industrial Placement is a validated work experience opportunity that is assessed and accredited towards your Imperial degree classification. Often referred to as a ‘year in industry’ or ‘commercial placement’, industrial placements are an opportunity for you to put into practice your academic skills and knowledge within a professional setting.
Most departments at Imperial now offer the opportunity to undertake an industrial placement. If you are unsure whether you are currently registered on a course that includes an industrial placement, please contact your relevant department admissions team.
The length of the placement varies depending on your course, with most being either six or 12 months.
Each department will have selected placement eligibility criteria, however it is generally expected that you will undertake your opportunity with an external employer. Your department may also give you the option to undertake research projects or research abroad placements. A full list of options can be found on the Registry webpage.
Should I do an Industrial Placement?
Should I do a placement?
Whilst there are many benefits to completing a placement, you should carefully consider whether this is the right pathway for you.
Most placements will run over the summer vacation period and restrict your ability to complete a summer internship. Some sectors, such as investment banking, will recruit many of their graduates directly from their summer interns. As a result, you should consider your future career plan and whether you need to do a summer internship instead. You should also explore whether you could meet your department criteria for the industrial placement within your interested sector, for example a computing placement in investment banking.
Location is an important consideration as you may be expected to move anywhere in the UK for your placement. If you are renting accommodation in the private sector, ensure you sign an appropriate length of lease to fit in with your placement plans. Please review the Student Union advice on housing for further considerations.
The application process for placements is likely to take place during term time and therefore it is important to consider how you will balance this with your studies. Although it is your responsibility to find and secure a placement, your department will offer guidance and we at the Careers Service have a wealth of resources to support you.
To discuss whether an industrial placement is the right decision for you, please book a Work Experience Consultation (undergraduates only) via JobsLive. If you are a postgraduate, please book a Careers Consultation.
Finding an industrial placement
We advertise industrial placement vacancies on JobsLive under the vacancy type ‘Placement (4 – 12 months)’. You can set your JobsLive profile to receive details of new vacancies as they are advertised and search for the right role via the Occupational Areas tool.
Your course should have a placement point of contact who may have links to employers and advertise opportunities directly in your department. The Careers Service will also offer a talk within your department to give guidance on finding and applying for your industrial placement.
For more tips on how to identify opportunities, see our page on Finding jobs and internships.
Will I be paid during my industrial placement?
We believe you should be paid and do not advertise any unpaid opportunities on JobsLive, unless they are for a charity or statutory body.
However, you may find some unpaid placements because students doing work experience as part of a Higher Education course are exempt from the National Minimum Wage, as long as the placement does not exceed one year.
What salary can I expect to get for my industrial placement?
If your industrial placement is paid the salary will vary depending on the sector and how specialist or technical the role is. You can get an indication of possible salaries by researching via the Job Profiles tool on Prospects.
Will my placement affect my Student Finance?
When under taking an industrial placement, whether it is paid or unpaid, students who have been receiving financial assistance from Student Finance England will continue to do so. This includes a tuition fee loan (your tuition fee will be reduced) and a reduced rate living cost loan.
Unpaid year in industry placements in some sectors (such as in hospitals, primary care trusts, local authority children's services, prisons and research in UK institutions) will be eligible for a means tested living cost loan, as you would have in previous years of study.
Is there funding available for international placements?
The Registry team have guidance for students who are interested in undertaking a placement abroad via the Placement Abroad Handbook. This handbook provides detailed information on various factors that should be considered when securing an international placement.
How long should I wait before accepting a placement offer?
Once a job offer is made, you should aim to reply as soon as possible. However, do not rush your decision; ask for some time if you need to. If you accept an offer you are entering into a contract with the company and you should not back out as it may affect your reputation and future chances of employment with that organisation.
If you are in the lucky position of having more than one job offer see our information on Evaluating job offers.
Should I disclose my disability?
If you would like to discuss how and when to disclose a disability, please book a Careers Consultation via JobsLive. Please also review our resources on Careers and disability.
What is expected of me whilst on placement?
Whilst on placement you should adhere to your employer’s terms and conditions set out in your contract of employment. This may include non-disclosure agreements if you are working on anything confidential. If you are unsure, speak with your department or HR staff at your host company.
You are representing Imperial College and should abide by the Off Site Working Policy and safety information.
Take note of health and safety procedures and ensure you have a health and safety induction. Your employer should follow the Health and Safety Executive Guidance.
If you have any other questions please book a Work Experience Consultation (undergraduates only) via JobsLive. If you are a postgraduate, please book a Careers Consultation.