A Sandwich Placement (also referred to as an "Internship" or "Industrial Placement") is a validated work experience opportunity which forms part of a university degree programme (usually the third year, of a four year course). Sandwich placements can offer student interns useful insights for their final year of study and prepare them for the job market once their course has finished. University staff give students access to vacancies and students will then apply direct to employers the year before a sandwich placement is due to take place, in order to secure a position.
Some universities hold internship fairs and exhibitions to encourage students to consider the option of an internship and to enable students to meet potential employers.
Employers are more interested in candidates with experience
Graduates with work experience in the form of sandwich placements may be deemed as more desirable hires by employers because they already understand the industry, careers and the work they are applying for. Many employers pay more attention to evidence of commercial awareness and work experience than they do to academic grades and extracurricular achievements, such is the value of experience working in the field you are looking for a career in.
Students who have spent time working for an employer as a placement trainee will have made lasting friendships with company employees and importantly, company recruiters. Placements students may be given the advantage when making full graduate scheme applications to firms they have already worked at during placements.
After a candidate's placement year (sandwich placement) some companies may choose to sponsor high quality students in their final year at University, with the promise of a job at the end of the course.
Improved Academic Performance?
Research has also demonstrated that graduates with work experience attain higher level degree classifications than those graduates without such experience, and perform better in the workplace. However, it is debatable whether or not students with internships do better in exams and in the workplace, or if students who do better in exams are actually just more precocious than their counterparts, and are just more likely to be the type of people who apply for and take internships.