Over 40% of UK graduates fail to land graduate level jobs after university, with almost 2 thirds of employers believing experience is the most important asset when recruiting rather than qualifications. Recent studies have shown that 72% of employers admit that too much emphasis is placed on qualifications and not enough on experience.

Many students make the mistake of assuming that their degree alone will qualify them for a job after university. Realisation often hits after graduation that they don’t have the skills or experience needed for their desired graduate role and must settle for something less suited to their preference or spend money on further courses and training programmes to help provide them with those skills and experiences employers are looking for. Noah, who spent his placement year with 2 Circles Communications, felt his experience helped improve his employability, “Working here at 2 Circles has given me a great portfolio of work to showcase my skills and qualities and lots to talk about in future interviews”.

Placement years are becoming an increasingly common option amongst students with more and more undergraduate courses offering an optional “sandwich” year spent working in an industry, giving students vital experience that can help set them apart in the jobs market. Placement years differ to traditional short-term internships in that the extended duration allows students to take up a role within a business that carries real responsibility.

If you’re thinking of doing a placement, already applying or just unsure then this is just for you. I had some extended time with Noah, and he gave some great insight as to why a placement year is so valuable as well as some key takeaways from his time with 2 Circles:

1) Put theory into practice

Do you ever sit in lectures and wonder when am I going to use this? Well, undertaking a placement provides you with the perfect opportunity to take what you’ve learnt in the lecture theatre into the real world as Noah experienced himself: “Learning theory is always good but getting that first-hand experience of how that knowledge is applied was amazing. I got to see how different theories in marketing were used and how it helped deliver a brand message”. Doing a placement year will give you a great opportunity to impress your new colleagues and apply what you have learnt.

2) Getting a taste of the real working world 

Undertaking a placement year means you will be given real responsibility along with opportunities that will be stimulating and take you out of your comfort zone. Noah saw his experience with Circles as a chance to see how everything came together within the marketing team. “Working in the marketing team I got to see the work everyone in the department carried out and how it all came together to deliver the brand message of 2 Circles, and this is the kind of thing I might not have been able to see in larger organisations”

This can be a huge benefit for students as they can see where their strengths lie and which areas they might want to specialise in post university.

3) Life at 2 Circles

2 Circles Communications offer placements in several departments to undergraduate students. Talking to Noah he spoke about the culture within the company that really helped him to settle into his role and feel welcomed. “The people here are really supportive and friendly, and I felt that from my first interview. They always encouraged me to ask them questions if I needed any help during my first few months and everyone really takes an interest in your own personal development during your time with them”.

4) Working in Telecoms.

Working in any industry as a placement student can be exciting. If you’re someone who enjoys problem solving, then working at 2 Circles could be the place for you as Noah found out. “I liked solving problems. Sometimes when I’m working on a document for our website it can be tricky to get across the right message. Being able to get around challenges like that I found really satisfying”.

If you’d like to find out more about work placements at 2 Circles, please email a copy of your CV to recruitment@2circles.com.