There are a number of financial considerations to take into account when choosing and planning a placement year. Thinking about this early will help you concentrate on your placement and enjoy the experience.
Things to consider when looking for a placement
Placements can be paid or unpaid so it is important to factor in what funding you may be eligible for when deciding on a placement.
- If you do a paid placement, you will be paid wages by your employer and you may be eligible to apply for a reduced rate maintenance and tuition fee loan.
- Some unpaid placements will attract full funding from Student Finance England - these include some NHS and research placements.
- If you choose to undertake an unpaid placement that does not attract full funding from Student Finance England - be aware that there is very little funding available, you will need to save up ahead of your placement year if you choose to do this.
Preparing for your placement
If you’re moving to a new city, it’s a good idea to compare the living costs in case you need to make some adjustments to your budget. You may find the budgeting page useful to help you plan your finances.
It is important to sort out your accommodation in advance to make sure you find a suitable place. Here are few things to consider
- Is the rent affordable?
- Can you share? It can be cheaper if you split bills and get a council tax exemption
- Perhaps you can stay with relatives to save on rent?
- Are your housemates considerate of your working pattern? Students’ and working professionals’ lifestyles may differ
- How long does the commute to work take?
You can find more tips on renting on the making your money go further page.
It is also a good idea to plan your commute to work
- Consider comparing different means of public transport as well as the cost of travel cards and pay as you go options
- Ask your workplace if they offer any travel schemes
- Try cycling or walking to work if possible
It is worth trying to build an emergency fund ahead of your placement year. Having some savings if things unexpectedly go wrong will help you avoid stress and allow you to concentrate on what is important.
Depending on the dress code at your workplace you may need to invest in a professional wardrobe. However, try not to overspend on this - a few simple key pieces which can be easily matched with each other should be more than enough for you to look professional.
Whilst on placement
It is worth familiarising yourself with your pay day and payslips:
- You may want to set up direct debits around your payday to help you stay on top of your bills
- It is important to check your tax code to ensure you are paying the correct taxes. Make sure you keep all pay-related documents as you may need them if you want to claim any tax back after your placement. You can find more information on taxes from HMRC.
If you are not used to making your own coffee to go or a packed lunch - you may find that cafes near your workplace are more expensive than those on or near campus.
If you are on a paid placement, you might be in a position to start saving. You can find practical tips to help you start saving on the making your money go further page.
Suggested Blackbullion learning
Blackbullion is an online learning platform that you can access for free with your Hallam email address and improve your money skills through pathways, articles, and tools. We recommend that you complete the below modules to help you prepare for your placement year
- Funding for students on a work placement can help you to plan ahead and make sure your finances are in shape before starting a placement
- The budget decision tree provides a roadmap to help you adjust your budget to new circumstances
- The savings pathway is designed to help you discover ways of saving money even on a tight budget
- Top 10 money tips can help you develop healthier money habits
- Building an emergency fund will help you prepare for unexpected money situations
- The tax pathway is a good place to start understanding the tax system
- The networking game provides practical tips on how to make the most out of the networking opportunities in the workplace for your future career