With more and more applications to universities every year, there is an excellent pool of talent available to employers. Many universities now put as much emphasis on practical experience as the theoretical knowledge and due to this the amount of courses that offer placement years (or internships) has increased greatly.

Although it is clear the main aim of a placement year is to offer students the chance to get some practical experience under their belt, the benefits to employers can be great also.

For starters, the enthusiasm of the students to succeed in the workplace is second to none. The end goal many students work towards is the offer of a permanent position once they finish their degrees and because of this they will do their upmost to impress you as a business owner.

Students on placements will also bring a lot of fresh ideas to the table. A placement year for many students will be their first office based job and because of this their outlook on how businesses work could be slightly unorthodox, which can be a good thing. For businesses that are looking for fresh ideas, a placement student can be a great asset in terms of thinking outside the box and bringing new, imaginative ideas which could help the business grow. The fact that placement students wont be ‘corporate robots’ as many experienced employees do become, will mean their exciting new ideas can be just what your business needs to move to the next level.

Although students may not start out with your business as ‘the finished article’, most will have the core skills base necessary to succeed in the working environment. For example, universities encourage working to tight deadlines, communication and team working; all of which are vital skills for working in a business. This idea of employing a ‘rough gem’ means that your business can mould a placement student by adapting their core business acumen into something that will work for your business.

Employing a placement student can also work out as a cheaper alternative to employing a permanent member of staff with more experience. With their hunger for experience in most cases being their main motivation for taking on a placement year, students financial expectations aren’t as great as a potential candidate with 20 years experience in a given industry would be. Due to this, businesses can get a great deal of work out of placement students at the fraction of the cost it may require to employ a more experienced candidate.

The target market of ‘20 somethings’ is a very powerful demographic for businesses today, as these are the trend setters with disposable income who can really determine how successful a business is. With many placement students being aged between 20-25, they are in the perfect position to help businesses target this market, as they are part of the market themselves. Therefore, although you may not think it, a placement student could hold the key for your business successfully appealing to a notoriously difficult, yet extremely powerful target market.

When students leave universities with degrees, there is usually a lot of competition between businesses trying to snap up the best graduates who they believe could help push their company forward. However, by offering placement years to students, businesses can offer these graduates the opportunity to return to their business after successful placements, which is an opportunity many graduates will take up. By taking on a returning placement student who is now graduated, businesses can be sure the employee will fit into the organisation and won’t have to spend time easing graduates into the role as they already have experience working with the company.

Overall, chance to take on a placement student from a university is a great opportunity and could lead to your business finding that one off employee who will drive your business forward.

For more information on employing placement students please contact Peninsula’s Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.