module specification

MN6W04 - Professional Experience Year Placement (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Professional Experience Year Placement
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
18 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
45 hours Guided independent study
237 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 80%   Placement Report: 7000 words
Other 20%   Employer/Line Manager online appraisal form
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City - -

Module summary

The module is designed to develop student employability and increase graduate career prospects.  The ‘sandwich placement’ year requires learners to undertake a minimum of 44 weeks full-time work in employment which is developmental and relates to their graduate career goals.  Compulsory pre-placement preparation workshops will provide structured learning and support to assist students in their search for an appropriate placement in an industry relevant to their area of study; develop professionalism and the ability to transfer learning from the classroom and previous employment to the placement workplace.  During the placement term, students will be supported in applying theoretical knowledge in a practical context, analysing business problems and proposing solutions, and identifying and articulating transferable skills and knowledge developed during the placement.  Students will be expected to demonstrate improved understanding of their abilities and career goals, knowledge of the workplace organisation and professional awareness through reflective and reflexive learning.

Prior learning requirements

No prior learning required. 
Students who have additionally studied the 15 credit “Learning through Work” placement module, must use alternative employment for the Professional Experience Year Placement module.

Module aims

The module aims to enable students to:

• Develop effective job search abilities and consider future career options
• Gain practical experience in a professional role relating to their subject discipline / career interest and build personal networks in that industry
• Increase their employability via the development of commercial awareness; professional transferable competencies and technical knowledge through critical analysis and self-reflection on workplace experiences
• Demonstrate and apply theoretical concepts in a practical, business context
• Critically analyse organisational structures and functions, and gain understanding of current issues, practices and relevant legislation within a particular organisational context

It also aims to develop students’ skills, in particular:
• Career management
• Self assessment/reflection, including awareness of and management of emotions
• Interpersonal, including. collaborating / working with others, cross cultural awareness, having a positive attitude, negotiation and persuasion
• Enterprise skills, including taking initiative, being creative, leadership, completing tasks and projects, taking calculated risks
• Self/Time management, including self-efficacy
• Commercial Awareness, including vision, corporate social responsibility and governance
• Researching
• Analysing Data
• Application of Knowledge and Presenting Data
• Communicating/presenting – orally and in writing, including inter-cultural communication
• Critical Thinking
• Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Digital literacy and IT skills


The syllabus will begin with a focus on preparing students for employment through to reflecting on their personal gains from the placement and planning their next steps.  Careers Consultants will contribute by providing careers guidance as required for those learners seeking suitable employment.

• Job search strategies
• Application approaches (CV, covering letter, application form, speculative applications)
• Selection processes (Interviews (telephone, one-to-one, panel ), assessment centre activities (aptitude testing, group work, in-tray exercises))
• Investigation into relevant labour markets and sectors of employment
• Articulating abilities effectively
• Effective workplace communication
• Effective teamwork
• Professionalism and work ethics
• Health and Safety in the workplace
• Transferring learning from studies and previous employment to the placement workplace
• Critical self-reflection
• Meeting the learning outcomes whilst on placement
• Meeting the assessment requirements of the module
• Report writing
• Setting personal learning goals
• Planning long and short term career and study goals
• Support available during placement

Learning and teaching

The module workshops will be compulsory for students who have registered interest in finding a 12 month placement as required for the module.  

The series of placement preparation workshops (around 15 - 18 hours and covering all the elements listed in Point 13) will run for the full year term, supported by one-to-one guidance.  The sessions will run twice weekly to ensure all registered students have an opportunity to attend. 

Workshops will include weekly, self-reflective exercises to develop critical self-analysis and assess the level of learning on a regular formative basis.  Students will be assigned a personal placement officer who they will be required to meet with regularly throughout the pre-placement year to support their placement search .   Additional distance support will be offered through phone, e-mail and Google Mail ‘chat’.

Workshop materials and assessment guidance will be uploaded to Weblearn.  In addition suitable 12 month placement vacancies and vacancy web links will be sourced by the BusinessWorks team and advertised through Weblearn.  Learners who are undecided about their career choice will be referred to a Careers Consultants.

In the placement preparation year, students will be encouraged to attend placement / graduate fairs to interact with employers and source employment, undertake part-time work and co-curricular activities to enhance their CVs.

During the year placement term, each student will be assigned an academic placement tutor in addition to their placement officer and both will offer on-going support to the student.  The officer and tutor will contact the student at certain points throughout the year, for example to support them in writing their skills development plan and to arrange visits to their workplace.  The purpose of the visits is to discuss progress with both the student and the employer; ensure both parties understand the assessment requirements; deal with any problems and to forge on-going relationships between the business and LMBS.  For students on overseas placements, a visit will be replaced by telephone calls or video conferencing. 

In addition there will be post-placement de-briefing and reflection support, which although not formally assessed, will focus on identifying and articulating learning gained during the placement. Emphasis will be given to the relationship between theory and practice and the application of the placement experience to the final year of academic study. Students returning from placement will be encouraged to present their experiences to the following cohort of students who are seeking a placement.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes are generic to be flexible to allow application to a variety of workplace contexts (in-line with the QAA Code of Practice for Work-Based and Placement Learning, 2007).  On successful completion of this module students should have demonstrated the following learning outcomes:

1. Demonstrate understanding and successful application of career management tools and practices to secure an appropriate placement.
2. Demonstrate application of theoretical concepts in a related workplace context.
3. Evaluate the contribution they have provided to the organisation and critically analyse any challenges encountered and how they resolved these.
4. Demonstrate understanding of the work environment, and the structure and function of the organisation, identifying areas for development and proposing possible strategies for implementation.
5. Evaluate the activities that they have participated in and critically reflect on the professional / graduate skills and competencies they have developed. 
6. Critically reflect upon how the placement experience relates to personal, career and academic development and identify any future skill and knowledge development needs. 

Assessment strategy

There are two components of assessment:
1. Placement Report: 7,000 words in total 80%
2. Employer Assessment: 20%

In addition to the University’s assessment requirements, passing the placement module provides an additional Licentiateship of City and Guilds Institute (LCGI) award.  The placement module marking criteria incorporates City and Guilds requirements to ensure students have demonstrated competence in the necessary vocational and personal skill areas.   The City and Guilds Licentiateship Award is an internationally recognised qualification and the Certificate includes eligibility for membership of The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

1. Placement Report: 7000 words in total 80%
The report includes two sections :
Critical Analysis of the organisation: a critical analysis and discussion of the organisation, in relation to the business environment with recommendations.  It should draw upon academic learning and business theory in order to critically evaluate the company’s operations, position in the market and the learner’s own performance (5,000 words).

Reflective Self-assessment: reflection on achievements and skills gained in line with the set Key Personal Skill Criteria (2,000 words excluding log and evidence sheets).  Within the Reflective Self-Assessment, students are required to rate their achievement of particular skill sets and complete a Skills Development Plan and Learning Logs throughout the placement.   

2.   Employer Assessment Form – 20%
Employers are required to assess the student’s achievement against each skill set (in addition to providing an overall rating for the student’s performance).


Cottrell, S (2010) Skills for success: the personal development planning handbook  2nd Ed, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Fanthome C (2004) Work placements : a survival guide for students Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Herbert I and Rothwell A (2004) Managing your placement, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Kirton B (2011) Brilliant workplace skills for students and graduates Prentice Hall, Harlow

Moon J (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory and Practice Routledge Falmer, London  (careers information)

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2007) Code of Practice for the Assurance of Academic Quality and Standards in Higher Education, Section 9: Work-Based and Placement Learning [Online] Quality Assurance Agency Available:  - Accessed 21/07/11

Scherer A (2011) Brilliant intern Prentice Hall, Harlow

skills4study (2011) Structured reflection [Online] Palgrave MacMillan
Available:  - Accessed 20/5/11  (careers information)

Trought F (2011) Brilliant employability skills Prentice Hall, Harlow