A large number of higher education courses now have a work placement module as part of their course where a student goes into a company or an organisation where the work is relevant to their degree. Core to the values of preparing students for the workplace at TUS Athlone, the majority of our programmes feature work through integrated learning or placements. You will be informed about placements procedures, responsibilities and timings on your course through your lecturers and academic department.
Work placements can be for a period of 1 month to 9 months, sometimes even a full year. If you have to undertake practical work placement in your course, it is wise to start thinking about where you want to be placed a few months before you start your placement.
Work placement is a great way of gaining extra work experience and provides an opportunity to learn how to transfer the knowledge and theory from your course into practice while developing your personal and interpersonal skills also. It can be an exciting time also as it can give you an insight of what it will be like working in that environment when you graduate and subsequently inform your career choice.
How could this affect me?
Before going on placement, students registered with the Disability and Learning Support Service are advised to meet with the Disability Officer to discuss supports you may require while on placement. There is no one size fits all approach to implementing placement support as each person will have a unique set of challenges and coping mechanisms. The best way to establish what accommodations may be required, if any, is to attend a Placement Planning Meeting before starting your placement.
Examples of reasonable accommodations may include:
- Supervisor to be aware that the student may find it challenging to adjust their communication style throughout the day depending on the task or setting.
- Supervisor to be aware that the student may benefit from being given advanced notice of meeting times and topics, clear and explicit instructions on what is expected and clear structured feedback at consistent times.
- Allow student flexibility to take short sensory or relaxation breaks.
- If possible, locate workspace in a quieter part of the workplace.
- Meet with your Disability Officer to discuss whether you will need additional supports in the workplace such as installation of any assistive technology, physical requirements etc…
- You should inform your Placement Officer of any additional supports you may need while on work placement or any barriers you may encounter while on placement that other students may not face.
- When you are going on a work placement, you are a representative of the college so maintain professionalism at all time and ensure you are complying with all of your college’s regulations and requirements.
- Build a relationship with your work colleagues while on placement as this is the start of your professional network and it may come in handy one day!