Industry Placement

Employer Toolkit

East Sussex College recognises that real and meaningful work experience enhances our student's future employment opportunities and is our biggest chance to make sure young people leave education better prepared to be successful and productive in the workplace.

From September 2020 our students will be required to undertake a three month (315 hour) Industry Placement as a mandatory element of the new advanced technical (T Level) qualification. To help ESC prepare for this, we are looking for employers across all sectors to work with us to offer our students Industry Placements.

Industry placements give young people who are studying a technical qualification, practical experience which is directly related to their course, helping prepare them for the world of work. The longer placement duration ensures students are given sufficient time to master the essentials and that employers have the opportunity to mould and foster the student’s technical abilities so they are more likely to add value and make a lasting impact on the business.

Employers like you are playing a key role in creating opportunities for young people in our local community who are at the start of their careers and enabling them to develop their technical skills and build confidence.

This Toolkit provides you with information about the different components which make up the programme and how you can get involved and offer an industry placement to a local student.

Let's Talk

Please fill in your contact details and a member of our Industry Placement team will call you to discuss how you can provide one of our students with an Industry Placement.

The Business Case for Industry Placements

There are a number of associated direct and indirect benefits for employers by integrating Industry Placements into their corporate strategy.

  • Resolve entry-level skills shortages: Companies in key sectors still struggle to attract the right candidates for entry-level vacancies. These include, but are not limited to: utilities, support care workers, laboratory assistants, catering, transport, storage, hospitality and communications sectors. Offering a pipeline of talent for entry-level jobs, apprenticeships, or higher-level skills training, industry placements provide an opportunity for young people to develop their job readiness and technical skills and be better placed to make decisions on the career pathway they would like to pursue.
  • Improve recruitment cost effectiveness: Industry placements can offer a pipeline for low cost, effective methods of recruiting from an untapped skills pool. Building partnerships with local education providers offers opportunities to advertise and raise awareness of employment opportunities to young people who are deciding on their future career paths.
  • Increase retention rates: Evidence shows that employees recruited through work inclusion initiatives have demonstrated lower staff turnover rates as a result of the increased value that those recruits place on having secured a job. This can result in direct cost savings to the business.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity and better understand customers: Equality of opportunity is essential for a productive workforce. Through industry placements, there is an opportunity to achieve greater diversity amongst employees recruited from excluded groups than the existing workforce. This demonstrates not only a strong corporate commitment to diversity, but has important business benefits such as enabling your organisation to understand the customers it serves; greater innovation and creativity and better performing teams.
  • Increase opportunities for employees to build skills and experience creating greater employee satisfaction: Delivering industry placements provides the opportunity for nominated individuals in your existing workforce to act as buddies, coaches or line managers to the new recruits. These roles can deliver returns to the business with staff experiencing satisfaction as well as developing their own professional skills through their engagement and participation in training.
  • Help companies meet tender requirements: Commitment to supporting excluded groups can strengthen bids for public sector contracts. It is likely that successful bids for public sector contracts could include the provision of a social or community benefit, e.g. through a Section 106 agreement.
  • Build brand value and corporate reputation: Being seen as an employer that is not only helping address some of society’s most critical issues but who is also enabling employees to play a role is of real importance to many businesses. Providing opportunities to local young people raises the profile of the company not only within its local community, but also nationally as the initiative gains public exposure among customers and clients.
  • Shape the direction of technical education within your industry: Develop partnerships with local education providers and influence the learning pathway for young people entering your industry.


Why should my business get involved?

Immediate benefits :

  • Extra resources for your projects and day-to-day operations from students developing skills in a course relevant to your business and industry
  • Give your employees the opportunity to develop management and mentorship skills
  • Bring a fresh perspective into your business
  • Corporate Social Responsibility impact: share with stakeholders how your business has supported local young people into industry placements, improving their employability and progression opportunities

Long term benefits:

  • Inspire the next generation to work in your industry
  • Address current and future skills shortages in your industry
  • Strengthen your recruiting pipeline and increase diversity
  • Shared value: benefits for business and society are correlated – increased social inclusion leads to new business opportunities


What do employers need to do?

  1. Provide an industry placement of 315 hours for a student who is on a course which is directly relevant to your industry. The timing and structure of the placement will be based on your needs. The different models available include ‘block release, day(s) release each week, or a combination of both.
  2. Agree relevant learning objectives for the placement. The learning objectives should be occupationally specific to your industry and we would ask you to set quality tasks that enable the student to work towards those objectives.
  3. Ensure there is a safe work environment and opportunities for the student to develop their technical skills within your industry.
  4. Provide a line manager to support, supervise and mentor the student and who will have regular contact with the provider to discuss their progress.
  5. At the end of the placement, provide a reference giving feedback on the student’s commitment and progress against the learning objectives set for the placement.


Employer Role

In order to best support the student on the industry placement and help them develop their skills, confidence and knowledge in the world of work, you should (as a minimum):

Role Description

Put together a clearly worded description of the organisation, the role being offered and what you are looking for in a student.

Be honest and realistic about what industry placements you can offer, and what you are not, to manage expectations and avoid disappointment.

If practical, give the student a project as part of their work to encourage them to take ownership, use their initiative and bring in their own ideas.

Selection/ Matching

Inform and discuss with the College what input you would like to have in the selection process of your student. This might include an interview, group assessment etc to enable the student to best demonstrate their talent and interest.


Prior to their first day of work, provide the student with joining information, including how to get to the place of work, working hours, lunch arrangements and other workplace expectations such as dress code, acceptable language and mobile phone usage. This should be included in the Industry Placement Agreement.


Provide the student with a full induction in situ, including a tour of the workplace; introductions to relevant staff; any necessary training; health & safety arrangements; fire precautions and emergency evacuation arrangements; and how to report accidents, incidents and unsafe conditions. The College will provide you with template forms for this if you require them.


Agree and sign a three-party Industry Placement Agreement with the student and education provider.

Comply with health & safety legislation and maintain adequate and up-to date Employer’s Liability Insurance to cover the student and any potential loss or liability caused by or to the student in relation to the placement.

Ensure any confidential information provided to you by the student or the College about the student is not disclosed to any third parties.

Similarly, ensure that the student is clear about keeping your commercial information confidential and allowing acceptable use of any of your IP for academic, non-commercial purposes.

Line manager

Nominate a suitably qualified person to be the day-to-day line manager for the student and provide relevant introductions and contact details to the student.

The line manager should:

Hold an initial meeting with the student 1-2 weeks prior to their start date to discuss and agree on their learning objectives.

Hold regular weekly check-ins to track and review the student’s progress.

Remind the student to complete their logbook.

Identify and deal with any issues (e.g. relating to colleagues, work content, workload etc) at an early stage.

Provide regular, constructive feedback to the student and encourage the student to think and problem-solve for themselves where possible.

Meet (via phone or in person) with the College regularly to review progress and escalate any concerns you have with the student’s performance on the placement.

Attend a midpoint review meeting in person between you, the student, and the College to discuss the student’s progress, review their learning objectives and make any changes to improve the second half of the placement.

Complete written feedback forms for the College at designated points during the placement.

Conduct or make arrangements for day-to-day supervision of the student.

In cases of serious accident or incidents involving the student or breaches of discipline by the student:

Advise and consult with the College; and Cooperate with the College in the event of a complaint or concern from the student about their placement and/or the employer.

Allow the student to submit all required reports and documents to the College from the placement for the purposes of examination. Communicate any serious issues relating to the student’s performance to the student and/or College as necessary.

Attend a final review session in person between you, the student and the College at the end of the placement to review the student’s progress.

After the industry placement

Provide a reference upon the student’s completion of their industry placement that reflects on student’s progress towards the learning objectives set at the start of the placement. The College will provide you with a template for this

You and the College should discuss feedback on the student as well as the quality of the placement itself and future.

If you wish to employ a student after their industry placement they will not be able to start with you until they have completed their studies. We suggest that you initiate a conversation with the student as early as possible to work out together how to maximise the student’s development, when they will be able to start employment and contact the College for any guidance