If you wish, you may spend the Year Abroad in paid or unpaid employment, gaining experience of a profession that interests you for future employment, in voluntary work of a challenging and rewarding nature, or in a stimulating work environment that tests and extends your skills.
The School requires there to be some link between the work you do and the course you are following here. It must be clear from the outset that you will acquire or develop skills appropriate to your studies and future plans - although in practical terms most intellectually challenging employment will satisfy this criterion. Also, the job must be roughly for the duration of nine months (or half of this if you are splitting the year between two countries).
All placements are subject to the approval of the School. Therefore, before any work placement is approved, a detailed job description signed by the employer and a contract must be submitted to the School office.
Applications (letter and CV in the appropriate language) need to be made early in the Autumn Term of the second year, and to be sent to (perhaps) 10-15 firms. We can supply addresses of major firms, and of companies with whom we have recently had successful dealings, and we can help you in preparing the documents. The Year Abroad tutor may want to check some correspondence before it is sent, and to take a copy for our files.
You may be interviewed by telephone at any point during the year; some firms will even pay the cost of travel for a personal interview.
What to expect
Conditions of employment and hours of work, and any matters of insurance or legal or personal liability, must be for you to settle directly with your employer.
Salaries are often by negotiation (you may well be asked what you expect to get), and they seem at present to lie in the range €550-1,000 per month. Accommodation is not usually provided, but employers should be able to help with advice and addresses. Information on income tax, social security contributions and health insurance should be obtained from your employer.
Firms vary immensely in their corporate ethos, structure, and procedures, so that it is difficult to generalise about any aspect. Find out as much as you can about your firm through the internet or other means. Talk to students who have already spent a year abroad in this way, or who are currently on their work placement.
Once abroad, be alert to the possibilities. From day one, grab opportunities for socialising, and build on them where appropriate. Be proactive and enthusiastic.
Show interest in the workings of the firm as a whole. See your placement, not as a treadmill, but as a springboard, for example a way of making contacts that later could prove important or useful in personal or career terms, what is sometimes called 'networking'.
With increasing globalisation, such international contacts could well be relevant later on, even if you do not plan to pursue a career outside the UK.
Please note the TWO key formal processes that all students on work placements must document:
1. The work placement must be approved by the relevant Year Abroad tutor. Upon confirmation and approval students must complete and submit to the School Office a Letter of Appointment. You also need to complete the Traineeship Erasmus forms which are all permanently available online as well.