Industry & Work Experience Placements

As part of their study programme, all full-time students at East Durham College are required to undertake an external placement or some form of work experience. The type of placement or work experience offered is dependent on the course and course level you are studying. There are various forms of placements and work experience available to students.

Why is it important?

Industrial placements and work experience are designed to help bridge the gap between education and the world of work. They can help inform your career choices and greatly enhance your CV and job prospects.

Work experience is an incredibly valuable part of your education and you should take it seriously to maximise its benefits.

Work experience allows students to enhance their CVs, improve their skills, and get a more well-rounded idea of their chosen career path. It can open up a whole new way of thinking about work that you may never have come across before.

And, on many, many occasions our students' work experience placements result in full time job offers ready for when they complete their course. Result!

Purpose of work experience

Work experience is designed to bridge the gap between education and the world of work. It provides a valuable opportunity for you to prove yourself to an employer, and help instil the attitudes and behaviours expected at work.

Work experience can take many forms including work tasters; running a student enterprise; participation in social action, volunteering or a work placement.

Work placements will usually take place with an external employer and they are an integral part of traineeships, supported internships and some study programmes, where work experience is the core aim. Work placements can also form an essential element of some vocational qualifications.

Types of Work Placement & Work Experience

  • Mandatory Work Placements – External work placements are a requirement of the course you are studying. For example, on some Level 3 Extended Diploma, it is mandatory for students to complete 100 hours in a work placement as part of their course content.
  • Standard Work Placement – Any student not asked to complete a Mandatory or Industry Placement (see below), will be asked to complete a minimum of 2-5 days of placement with a suitable organisation.
  • Other Work Experience – The college will also try to arrange other forms of work experience, such as group projects arranged by employers at their site or using the college facilities. In addition, the college will also arrange industry training sessions and online “virtual” placements.

Industry placements

Industry placements give students an opportunity to develop their practical and technical skills in a role directly relevant to their vocational course.

They also give employers the chance to ensure that young people are developing the skills and experience that their industry needs.

Industry placements form part of the T Level courses, which will give young people a technical alternative to A levels.

Industry placements will make up around 20% of the course, with the student spending about 80% of their time in the classroom.

How long do placements last

Industry placements can vary in length but must last for a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days), not including lunch breaks. We expect most placements will last an average of 350 hours (approximately 50 days) although some will be much longer if required for a particular specialism.

Depending on your course and employer industry placements may run as a block, a series of blocks, a day release or a mix of these, depending on what works best for the employer, the college and the student.

Working hours

Generally, most placements will take place during the normal working day, but some occupations may involve working outside normal working hours. The college will agree on working patterns with you and your employer as part of the work plan discussion.


Industry placements are part of a course and there is no legal requirement or expectation that students will be paid. However, employers can decide whether or not to pay the student, and how much.

Student travel

Students can access the Arriva bus network using their EDC student ID badges. The college may be able to help with student travel costs, via a means-tested assessment, if you can not get to the placement with Arriva. 

Finding a work placement

East Durham College’s Work Placement Teams provide guidance and advice for students attending placements or work experience. The team will support you with your placement plans and organise the arrangements with the employer.

The Work Placement Team will help with:

  • Sourcing placement vacancies with employers through our wide network of contacts.
  • Arranging the health and safety checks, so that the college knows you are attending a safe environment.
  • Monitoring your development and progress in the placement.

Work experience organised by the student

Any work experience organised by the student without the involvement of their institution should not be included as either a learning aim or within the student’s planned hours. This is because it does not meet the requirements for funding planned hours.

Any questions?

Please use the enquiry form below or call Student Services on 0191 518 8222 to discuss your options.

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