Symmons Madge Associates Ltd home

Training for a Successful Future

  Courses  :  Course Diary  :  Regional Training  :  Consultancy  :  Search  :  Links  :  About us  :  Contact  

Year in Industry

  Sandwich Course Managed Placement

A “Year in Industry” offers an undergraduate student a chance to work in an industry relevant to their degree. Statistics show that students that take a sandwich year often get better results in their degree. Placements are usually for a minimum of 48 weeks and normally take place between the students’ 2nd or 3rd year of their degree courses.  Whilst 48 weeks is normally the minimum length of a placement, by mutual agreement between the employer and student it can last longer.

Currently, Symmons Madge Associates place around one hundred and twenty students per year in employment, under the Year-in-Industry [YiI] initiative. Primarily, the work placement takes place during the students’ third year at the university, these students will be studying for either a BEng or MEng degree. We also place students studying a two year MSC degree scheme in the School of Computer Science and Informatics.

 The Aim of the Year-in-Industry

In the UK, less than 30% of students undertake work placement - contrast this with the European average of 55%, France 70% and Germany 80%.

Those employers who do provide an opportunity for students to undertake a Year in Industry have a very positive attitude to the concept. Sandwich courses are widely respected by Contractors, Consulting Engineers, Manufacturers, Health Authorities, Hospitals, Local Authorities, Government Departments and professional bodies such as the Institutions of:

Employers recognise the mutual benefits to be gained by giving students the chance to learn within a working environment before they graduate and begin their full-time careers.  Many students secure their first full-time employment as a result of their performance during a Sandwich Course training period.

Where supervised work experience is an integral part of a Degree course it affords the opportunity to gain a more balanced perspective of the chosen profession.

The main benefits to be gained from a well-balanced and effective Year in Industry placement are:

For the Employer:

  1. Enthusiastic team member who is keen to learn as much as possible
  2. Value for money
  3. Help with busy periods and staff shortages
  4. Finding a potential candidate for graduate recruitment
  5. Development for managers in mentoring students
  6. Demonstration of corporate social responsibility
  7. Having up to date professional skills
  8. The opportunity to educate and shape the next generation of worker

For the Student:

  1. Opportunity to be able to step-back and reflect on the relevance of their course to future employment opportunities
  2. General maturing process takes place
  3. Opportunity to receive a reasonable salary – and off-set debts
  4. Valuable opportunity to get a realistic practical “taste” of the chosen Branch of Engineering
  5. Enhanced prospects of employment once graduated and potential for accelerated promotion
  6. Opportunity to develop awareness of the link between Academic and Practical Skills
  7. Enhanced self-confidence, team work and possible leadership skills

How long is the “Year” in Industry?

Under normal circumstances, the placement should last 48 weeks. It is though recognised by the universities that a flexible approach is sometimes necessary. Consequently the duration of each placement is open to discussion.


There is no charge to the Employer for SMA managing the preparation, organising the placement and the subsequent monitoring and visits - but during the time the student is employed they are paid a salary. Payment varies widely – the average during the last academic year was £15,500/ year equivalent.   

Starting dates?

The placement can start any time between the end of Academic Year – early June to the end of September. There is a caveat though - no student is allowed to start the YiI until they have attended the Health, Safety and Welfare briefing and successfully completed their second year examinations. Whilst as mentioned above, 48 weeks is the ideal length of placement, it can last longer by mutual agreement between Student and Employer. 

University Monitoring of Placement

Prior to taking up the placement, students are required to complete certain forms which keep the University informed of the location of the placement and the contact details of the person responsible for their training. 

At the start of the placement the YiI Tutor sets the student a number of questions, to be answered during the placement.

Some two to three months after the student has started work, SMA will arrange for the student to be visited by one of our YiI tutors, at a time and place agreed with the student’s line-manager. During this visit, the Student's performance will be discussed with both the Student and his/her Line Manager. A second visit takes place towards the end of the placement.

The Student is expected to:

The universities referred to above are:








 At Cardiff University, we place students studying on the following 23 courses:  




At Warwick University we place students from the following 7 courses: 

All students we place will be studying either for a BEng (4 years including the YiI), MEng (5 years including the YiI) Degrees, BSC (4 years including the YiI) or MSC (2 year course).  

The Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering courses are accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers. The three courses have a common Civil Engineering base and are taught together for most of the time, particularly in the first two years. In the Architectural Engineering course, emphasis is put on Structural Engineering, while in the Civil & Environmental Engineering course environmental issues are emphasised.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (formerly the Institution of Electrical Engineers) accredit the courses in Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering and Computer Systems Engineering. In addition, the Computer Systems Engineering Degree is also accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS).

All Mechanical Engineering courses listed above are accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The University also has a Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS) available for the students to work through during their Year in Industry.

We are interested in placement opportunities throughout the UK and further field.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity of employing a student for the next academic year, please contact:

Hannah Toor on 01446 775959 or

Legal Notice
Copyright © Symmons Madge Associates Ltd, All Rights Reserved