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Work placements are a brilliant way to develop and build upon the theory you learn during your course, and Oxford Brookes supports students in finding the best opportunities for them.
Having a successful work placement on your CV can help you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. Many of our work placement students are offered a role in their placement company when they graduate.
Browse our courses to find out more about the work placement opportunities in the subjects you’re interested in.
You can look at the placements you're interested in by clicking on the company name here.
House of Fraser West Berkshire Community Hospital The Walt Disney Company Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Harley Davidson Vaughan Thomas Ward (Warneford Hospital) Lloyd Banking Group Unlocking Potential GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity) Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Sipsmith Oxford City Adult Mental Health Team Harvey Thorneycroft Ltd
“The thing I value most is you feel really empowered.”
Anna-Nicole Hunt Business and Marketing Management Anna-Nicole spent her third year on placement at House of Fraser in the web store management team.
What do you value most about being on placement?
The thing I value most is you feel really empowered. You have such a purpose and you go out and are achieving something every day. You are always on the go. You feel like you have such a responsibility and that you are making a difference. You get to see how you make a contribution to the company’s performance.
What would you say to a student thinking about doing a placement?
I don’t have any regrets about doing a placement at all. Being in this placement I’ve built relationships not just with this company but with brands outside of this company. It opens so many doors.
“The realisation that you can do the job you’re training to do - that’s the main point really.”
During his third year he worked as a Student Occupational Therapist at West Berkshire Community Hospital. Ryan has also completed placements at Farmability and in community teams.
What has being in the workplace given you, compared with being in classes?
Being able to make it more tangible. Otherwise you’re learning from a textbook, you’re learning a particular case study to use your skill set on, but try as they might at the university, that’s never going to be the person you work with again - there’s a very individualised aspect. There’s more diversity in the workplace, you get to experience more.
What makes you happiest about your work placement?
Going into your first placement, don’t worry. The biggest lesson I have learned through being at university is it’s ok to mess things up. You’re not going to mess things up so badly that someone’s going to come to any real harm, especially on your first placement. You’re looked after very well.
“Working in the world’s biggest entertainment company has enabled me to work in high pressure situations and learn so much more.”
Sahra Kaneghah Business and Marketing Management Sahra spent her third year working as a Multiproperty Intern for The Walt Disney Company.
In terms of personal skills like confidence, do you feel like your placement has helped you improve?
100% - although I am confident in my abilities and my work ethic at Brookes, I believe that now that I have put my skills into practice I have really improved them.
Definitely a massive boost of confidence – I believe in my abilities and am given responsibilities that challenge me professionally. Additionally, working in the world’s biggest entertainment company has enabled me to work in high pressure situations and learn so much more. Also, the networking is great! Each connection I make here is so valuable.
“The placements are the reason I chose Brookes”
Harriet Quainton Mental Health Nursing During her third year Harriet was on placement as a Student Mental Health Nurse with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). She has also completed placements in the Older Adult Community Mental Health team and in her first year was placed at the Acute Male Vaughan Thomas Ward at the Warneford Hospital.
Were you aware of the placement opportunities when you applied for the course?
I’m not an academic person, so to do three years of just academic work - I would never have applied for the course. It’s not something I thrive in. Fortunately I’ve passed all my assignments (bar one exam), but the placements are the reason I chose Brookes over other places.
What has made you proudest on placement?
On my second placement, the consultant on the ward (who’s quite a renowned consultant in Oxford and has been for many years) welcomed me to the team and thought that I was actually a qualified nurse. He didn’t for a minute believe I was actually a student, and when I did say that I’m actually a student nurse, he said ‘oh, is this your management placement then?’, and I was like no I’m first year! So that was really nice.
"It just sets you apart from other candidates when you’ve got a year’s work experience under your belt."
Alex Wenyon Business and Marketing Management Alex spent her third year on placement as an international and UK Marketing Assistant for Harley-Davidson.
Were the placements something that set Brookes apart when you were thinking about where to go to uni?
Definitely, because I knew I wanted to do a year in industry. I knew that it would just open me up to a lot more opportunities and what I’m doing (in marketing), it just sets you apart from other candidates when you’ve got a year’s work experience under your belt. It’s so competitive nowadays for university students to get jobs, so you’re going to try and provide yourself with the most opportunities that you can to set yourself apart from others.
Do you feel like you did manage to balance working and rowing?
Yes, luckily Harley were really great - in my interview I said I am a rower...I asked if it would be OK if I worked over all my lunch breaks, I got in half an hour earlier, I left work half an hour later, to build up my hours so I could do Wednesday afternoons. Luckily they said yes! In the interview it was pretty gutsy of me to ask them, but I didn't want them to go into it with any other impressions, I didn't want to suddenly turn around once I’d got the job and say actually can I do this. I didn’t think that was fair at all.
"Being able to have a placement gives you so much more perspective about what you’re going to be doing for a career. And you learn so many new skills you didn’t even know you’d need to build"
Emily Cregan Mental Health Nursing During her second year Emily spent one of her placements working as a Student Mental Health Nurse at the Vaughan Thomas Ward (Warneford Hospital).
It puts what you learn into practice, we get to actually use it with real people. Seeing it actually help people sticks with you - if anything it inspires me to learn more.
What makes you happiest or proudest about your work placement?
Being able to see how even as a student nurse I can affect someone and be part of their care. Seeing the improvement of someone and seeing someone being able to take control of their life again with the knowledge that I played a part in the care they received.
I was terrified before going on placement - you feel like you’re expected to know a lot but that’s not true. Everyone there helps you learn. And don’t be afraid that you feel like you don’t know enough, it’ll come while you’re there.
"The experience you gain being on placement and being away from the university for a year is invaluable. It has taught me so much"
Alex Styles Accounting and Finance Alex spent her third year on placement in the Credit Risk Department of Lloyds Banking Group.
What sort of skills do you think you’ve learnt on placement?
My communication skills have increased exponentially, I talk to stakeholders on a day to day basis not only within my own team but in the wider risk community and it has become apparent clear communication is key to getting them to agree to your ideas/projects.My technical skills have improved significantly...I have also gained invaluable business skills, nothing will compare to working within a big firm such as Lloyds and having exposure to what the real working world is all about.Yeah, honestly, the skills you learn from placement are invaluable.
I’d say don’t be afraid if your friends aren’t applying, don’t be afraid that you might not like your placement or you’re not ready for it, because the experience you gain being on placement and being away from the university for a year is invaluable.
"It’s opened doors and got me thinking more around the other areas I could work in future."
Anna Burrows Occupational Therapy During her third year, Anna completed a placement as a Student Occupational Therapist with Unlocking Potential (a children’s charity) in a mainstream primary school. She has also completed placements in a stroke unit in Kingston and a forensic unit at Bethlem Royal working with males with personality disorders.
Do you feel like this has helped you decide on a future career?
I never thought I’d work with children, and having that positive experience made me think this is definitely something I’m interested in. It’s opened doors and got me thinking more around the other areas I could work in future.
The real world experience, the application that you won’t get in a classroom or even with role playing with other students. Really seeing the process that we do, the OT process, in action from the start with referral to the end plan and discharge, or however it works. Actually having a go at doing all the steps yourself really helps your confidence and knowledge about what the OT role is in that setting.
"I can’t think back to what it was like before. Although you’ve learnt so much theory at university, which is really useful, it’s absolutely nothing like the practical"
Kat Daly Business and Management Kat spent her third year working as a Corporate Account Assistant at GOSH (the Great Ormond Street Hospital children's charity).
I can’t think back to what it was like before. Although you’ve learnt so much theory at university, which is really useful, it’s absolutely nothing like the practical. It’s made me feel so much more confident now, knowing that when I graduate, when I go to grad scheme interviews and so on, I’ve got so much to talk about now. I can’t imagine now what I would have talked about before. So much that you can use in interviews, assessment days...it’s really really valuable.
Has this influenced where you want to go with your career?
Yes definitely. With this experience I know where I want to start looking and it’s definitely corporate fundraising. And also with the collaborative working I’ve been able to rule out some things that I know don’t suit my personality. It’s definitely steered where I’m going to be looking when I finish university.
"You feel that what you are doing is making a difference and you’re using your knowledge base for a purpose"
Tarryn Ashworth Occupational Therapy Tarryn completed a placement as a Student Occupational Therapist at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (working in a paediatric role with outpatients) during her third year.
I was aware, especially on the interview day. Placements are mandatory everywhere, but Oxford Brookes came across as more supportive of placements.
What was your stand-out moment on placement?
One of my practice educators said that she had seen me develop and said I was ready to go into practice. One of her little phrases was ‘would I let you work with my grandmother?’ and she said she’d give me her grandmother! It was nice to know that that long haul has actually paid off. That recognition is something you look forward to.
What are you most proud of about being on placement?
Being able to manage myself and my own caseload and being recognised for that. Practice educators are really supportive and the ongoing praise was really beneficial. To be able to get recognition for doing well.
"We can see the direct impact upon the company and our consumers"
Lucy Newman Business and Marketing Management Lucy spent her third year working as an Events Executive at Sipsmith.
A better understanding of the adult world. It has also shown me how theory that you learn in uni does apply to the workplace and it actually can make it easier to apply it which I have sometimes found difficult. I have also developed lots of personal skills which I didn’t realise I would need to develop.
Being able to be imaginative and to see your results. When the team produce fab work it’s great to see and we are lucky as we can see the direct impact upon the company and our consumers.
I did not think that I would develop skills like I have, as I have always been fairly confident and happy to engage with others, but it is quite different when you enter into a workplace with people of different ages and experiences.
"Don’t be worried about making mistakes, you’re going to learn from them."
Matt Boffin Mental Health Nursing Matt completed one of his placements as a Student Mental Health Nurse with the Oxford City Adult Mental Health Team.
Have you faced any particular challenges? How do you feel that you’ve overcome them?
I think there are always challenges, especially because I had no experience of working in a mental health environment before. Going into a mental health ward was a bit intimidating, but you just talk to the staff, talk to the mentor and tell them what your worries are and they help you.
What would you say to a student about to start their first placement?
Don’t be worried about making mistakes, you’re going to learn from them. If you go in worrying about making mistakes, then you’re not going to learn as much as you need to. Don’t be scared. And enjoy it!
"Everyone says you can apply your theory, which I think is true, but also it’s about developing it"
Lucy Hughes Business and Marketing Management Lucy spent her third year on placement as a Project Manager at Harvey Thorneycroft Ltd.
How would you sum up your placement?
It’s been one of my most enjoyable years at university...I think you change as a person - the skills I thought I had I’ve really been able to develop, and the skills I thought I didn’t have I’ve learnt or developed. I’ve just loved it!
Everyone says you can apply your theory, which I think is true, but also it’s about developing it so you wouldn’t necessarily know that you’re thinking directly of a theory, but it’s having the understanding in an environment.
It was one of the main reasons I chose to do a degree here, there were a lot of similar courses, but they didn’t necessarily have the placement opportunities. For me it was one of the big factors.