WORK PLACEMENT QUESTIONS
We know how vital work placements can be when you are a student, and many college and university courses have a work placement requirement as part of the syllabus.
We also know that sometimes these opportunities are better for the companies than for the students taking them. We want to make sure that you are getting real work experience, not being used just as unpaid labour.
We have put together some questions you can ask people or companies offering placements that can help you make a decision about whether that placement is worth it and right for you.
1. Is this work placement a paid position?
Most work placements will not be paid, and this is fine, provided you are getting learning experience of the professional industry.
2. Does this work placement cover my travel and/or food expenses?
Some will and some won't, but asking is always fair. For example, some companies can afford to pay for a month on your travel card and are happy to do this, but this is not a standard expectation.
3. What learning experiences can I expect to have during this placement?
Asking them to be clear about what they intend for you to learn during your time with a company is useful. The best placements are built on the mutual understanding of what is expected. It can be good to set out what areas of the industry you are looking to learn about when contacting companies, especially if you know what area of costume you would like to specialise in.
4. How many of your previous work placement students have gone on to be employed by your company?
This might be none because of the size of the company, and again, this doesn't mean you shouldn't take the placement. It can be really interesting to know though. If they do have former placement students who are back working for them, it should hopefully imply that they had a worthwhile experience and were treated with respect when they were a student.
5. How many placement students do your company admit at one time?
If a small company has multiple placement students at once, it can be an indicator that you may not get a quality learning experience whilst there or that they aren't offering a true work placement, but rather staff their company with unpaid student workers.
We hope that you find the right work placements for you and, by going into them with extra knowledge, you are able to have a good experience of working in the costume industry!