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Support on work experience

Handling problems

 Problems and emergency contact details

  • If you have any difficulties on placement, you should contact your placement tutor as soon as possible 
  • In an emergency, if you are unable to contact your placement tutor or if you are calling outside standard office hours, you should contact University Security on 0113 343 2222 

If you would like to speak to someone about any issues you are facing, you can contact your placement tutor, departmental placement contact, or contact us.

Whilst the vast majority of work experience goes really well, there may be times when you encounter some challenges. Do not worry, chances are you are not the first person to face such challenges and there are usually things you can do to improve the situation.  If nothing else, it will be good experience for challenges you may face in your working life later on!

We have outlined below suggestions for overcoming some of the more common issues encountered on work experience:

I am not doing the job that was described on the job description or what we agreed upon before I started my placement

  • Make sure you have given yourself enough time to settle into the role; you are unlikely to be given the most exciting jobs straight away. A company will expect you to prove yourself before they let you deal with clients or make big decisions. 
  • Speak to your supervisor or manager; they may not be aware of your expectations or what was discussed before you started.

I do not get on with my supervisor or manager

  • It is unlikely you will always get on with everyone you ever work with. Everyone is different and personality clashes are to be expected. Keep it professional and try to focus on completing your duties rather than dwelling on the personality clash.
  • If you have been assigned a mentor, or have the option of having one, they could be really helpful to speak to.
  • If it is serious, it is worth speaking to HR to see if they can do anything to help.

I do not enjoy the work I am doing

  • Consider your expectations before the placement - were they realistic? Try speaking to colleagues about how closely your role reflects the full-time equivalent.
  • Try to identify what specifically it is about the role you do not enjoy, as well as elements you do enjoy
  • Once you have done this, try to speak to your line manager or supervisor about how you are feeling. They may be able to negotiate some change in duties, particularly if you have constructive suggestions and do not simply use it as an opportunity to moan.  You will need to consider business needs foremost in any such negotiation.
  • Do not quit your job or experience on impulse. Most employers do care about how you are feeling and there should generally be room for negotiation.

I cannot get to work on time

  • Identify the reasons why you are struggling - are the reasons within or outside of your control?
  • If you are unable to reach your place of work by the agreed start time due to problems outside your control - such as public transport schedules - speak to your line manager or supervisor.  You may be able to negotiate a later start and finish time, or perhaps a colleague could give you a lift?

If you would like to speak to someone about any issues you are facing, you can contact your placement tutor, departmental placement contact, or contact us.

On placement as part of your course

I can't contact my placement tutor

  • If you have tried e-mailing or phoning your placement tutor with no response, try contacting your departmental office. Your module handbook should contain relevant contact details.

What university work should I be doing?

  • Your module handbook should detail the work and preparation that is expected of you during your placement. You should be working on your reflective log regularly and reflecting on the skills and experience you are developing.

Ongoing Support

You remain a registered student of the University of Leeds whilst on placement which means you can access all the support services available to students including;

Leeds University Union 0113 380 1400

Student Counselling Centre 0113 343 4107

Chaplaincy 0113 343 5071

Leeds Nightline 0113 380 1381