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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Step forward into your future

Undertaking a work placement is a significant step towards enhancing your career prospects.

That is why it is a compulsory part of the BSc (Hons) Healthcare: Management, Policy and Research undergraduate degree.

Reasons to undertake work placement


Find out why doing a work placement is important for career prospects...


It enhances your employability by:

Developing your employment skills in team working, self-management, communication skills, time management, innovation, creativity, risk-taking, resilience and self-reflection.

1. Increasing your career prospects: graduates with good work experience are more likely to get a job.

2. Your placement provider may offer you a job when you graduate or be willing to act as a reference.

3. Building the confidence and maturity essential for a successful career.


It helps you to plan your career by:

1. Enabling you to test out a future career path before you graduate.

2. Gaining insight into the operation of healthcare organisations.

3. Building networks within the work environment.


It enhances applications for top graduate schemes by:

1. Increasing the quality of your application to top Graduate Schemes. Relevant work experience significantly increases your chances of success in these very competitive and prestigious schemes.


It supports your learning experience by:

1. Enabling you to apply your academic learning in real healthcare settings.

2. Enhancing your final year of study by giving you real experiences to draw on so helping you make the most of your learning. It may also help you in thinking about a topic for your final year research project.


It improves your finances by:

1. Almost all of the employer links we have developed will pay you for your placement year.

Workplace mentoring programme

Discover how you will supported during and beyond your placement.

All students in the BSc (Hons) Healthcare Management, Policy and Research degree are allocated a workplace mentor.

Your mentor will help you to develop your career management skills - advising you on how to increase your employability skills, helping you to develop your network of career contacts, talking to you about how they developed their own careers and offering insight into the workplace and into the graduate schemes they have successfully completed.

How will it work?

You will be introduced to your mentor at the start of Year 2 at a "Meet your Mentor" event. Mentors will be alumni of the NHS Graduate Scheme, GSK graduate alumni and other schemes or employers working for placement providers.

Your mentor will arrange with you to spend a day at their place of work in a "Day in the Life Event" during which you will spend time with different staff in their organisations in order to gain insight into the work environment before your placement.

Mentors will be available to support you through your placement and will also help you think through career options during your final year of study.

Preparing for your placement

Below you will find details of how you should prepare for you placement...

As a student studying on the BSc (Hons) Healthcare: Management, Policy and Research we will support you throughout the placement process in a range of ways. The more you engage in the opportunities available, the better prepared you will be to find your placement and undertake it successfully.

Year 1:

During your first year you will be offered activities to help you to evaluate and develop your skills. You should reflect on your existing skills and think about what specific evidence you have to demonstrate them to others. You should also consider those aspects of your skill base or experiences you would like to develop and think about how you can do this.

You will also take part in activities that are compulsory for your degree. For example you will learn about work selection and recruitment and take part in team development activities to help you build your team working and leadership skills. Many of your modules will also develop key skills and you should take time to reflect on these and think about how they complete your other skills.

A short Easter or summer placement would be a further opportunity to consider in order to gain experience that you can put in your CV for your placement application. The Careers and Employability Service, the University's career advisory team runs schemes that can help you discover exciting opportunities that you might benefit from. See the links on the right of this page.

Year 2:

In your second year you will commence a year-long module specifically designed to support you in applying for a placement. The content of this module is designed to develop the skills needed to secure your work placement and will cover the following areas:

  • The value of work placements - employability, networking, career knowledge, skill development, address specific needs (i.e. disability or niche employment).
  • Briefing about the work placement programme including the responsibilities of yourself, academic staff, employers and work mentors.
  • Meet your mentor event - see section on workplace mentoring.
  • How to find placements - opportunities, websites etc.
  • Employability talks.
  • CV and covering letter preparation.
  • Interview techniques, mock interviews, and help for aptitude and psychometric testing.
  • Health and safety, ethics, confidentiality and IPR (especially for research, project based placements).
  • Job application checks.

This module is delivered through fortnightly workshops which help you develop your knowledge about employment and the skills needed to succeed in the recruitment and work environment. Your learning will be further facilitated through training events delivered by the Careers and Employability Service, placement providers and the Faculty of Health Sciences Employability Coordinator.


Employer links

The work placement year is intended to provide you with the opportunity to experience the environment of a real healthcare or healthcare related organisation and to develop your employment skills.

It is the responsibility of students to find their own placements, however we have facilitated this process by building links with a range of high profile employers working in the health sector who are able to offer fantastic paid work opportunities for your placement year.

Organisations offer different kinds of opportunities in the areas of healthcare management, policy and research. These employers all recognise the valuable skills that students from your degree will bring to their organisation. Specific opportunities will be offered on our secure placement website 9 months prior to the commencement of the placement.


In the spotlight: Placements at GSK

The Government Affairs and Policy (GAP) team is part of the UK Pharmaceuticals business at GlaxoSmithKline. The team's purpose is to understand the external environment within which the company operates, and support the commercial business in navigating it successfully now, as well as shaping what it looks like for the future. GAP's core functions are centred on gathering and distilling insight, understanding and developing policy and eliciting change through advocacy. The team is structured in 3 parts; Healthcare, Central Government/Westminster and Devolved Nations (Wales, Scotland, N. Ireland).

A placement student would have the opportunity to work across several of areas within the team to build a broad understanding of how a large commercial organisation engages in healthcare policy and the implications of these activities for the business.

Specific projects could include investigating the impact of an evolving healthcare issue on GSK's business, such as the greater integration of health with social care, the challenge of sustainable healthcare or working with the ABPI and Department of Health to shape national policy on areas of mutual interest, such as supporting innovation in the life sciences sector or optimising medicines usage.

The team's history in successfully hosting graduates means that students would be given real responsibility to lead a defined project, and provided with the support and development interventions to enable them to do so effectively.


Key facts

The Careers and Employability Service has workshops, one-to-ones and online materials to help you secure your placement. Careers and Employability Service

Getting it right: CVs Applications and Interviews

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