School of Computing

FAQs

Why should I do a placement?

  • It gives you the opportunity to apply the skills and theory that you have learnt on your programme
  • It can confirm your career choice or open up different career options
  • You earn money
  • Students who take a placement improve their degree marks (by up to 10% on their predicted final grade)
  • You have better employment prospects
  • Students often get a graduate job offer from their placement company
  • You will gain new experiences and broaden your skills
  • You will start to build a professional network

 

Will you find me a placement?

It is a student's responsibility to secure their own placement, but the Placement Office will provide lots of support. The Placement Office source and promote suitable opportunities, assist with applications, and with interview preparation. Students who engage with the Placement Office and utilize the resources on offer have a much better chance of being successful in finding, being shortlisted for and being offered a suitable placement. For full details please read students' responsibilities

Who can I work for?

Our Placement Team has links with hundreds of companies from numerous industries, both in the UK and overseas. Major employers include Cisco Systems, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Accenture Technology Solutions, Xerox, Goldman Sachs, GSK and Eli Lilly as well as smaller and local organisations. While most students undertake UK-based placements, there are also opportunities overseas. At the time of writing we have placement students working in the USA, Hong Kong and New Delhi.

Can I find my own placement or does it have to be off the University list?

You are encouraged to look for your own placement rather than just relying on the ones that come through the Placement Office. If, for example, you wish to work in a specific location we can help you target that area. You should also use existing contacts you may have either from past employment or through family and friends. If you find your own placement, you must speak to the Placement Team so they can assess whether the work is appropriate.

Can I work abroad?

Yes, you can undertake your placement anywhere in the world, the limiting factor is often finding such opportunities and/or visa restrictions. We have links with Cisco Systems and ectalent in the US and send several students there each year to work. Students have also found jobs in Europe and many have travelled with their placement employers. See Opportunities to work overseas for more details.

What are the benefits for employers?

Student placements benefit employers by raising their profile and attracting high quality graduates into jobs with them. Specifically it provides them with:

  • An opportunity to meet potential recruits and impress them with the benefits of working for the employer after graduation
  • An opportunity to bring new ideas into the organisation, including some of the latest technology
  • An inexpensive resource for a fixed term to move projects along
  • An opportunity to raise the profile of the company on campus

Am I eligible for a Student Loan/Maintenance Loan when on placement?

Sandwich year students who are on a full-year paid placement will be eligible for a reduced loan rate.

Tuition Fee: You should be allowed to borrow for the reduced tuition fee. You cannot borrow more than the University actually charges. However, you do not have to borrow this money and can pay the tuition fee yourself if you prefer.

Student Maintenance Loan: Students are entitled to borrow a reduced rate of the Maintenance Loan.  However, you do not have to borrow any of this money.  If you choose to, you can borrow all or part of the sum. It is not income dependant.

Your Local Authority (LA) is responsible for assessing your individual eligibility and entitlement to the student loan and supplementary grants, and you must contact them yourself to find out more.

Note that although local education authorities are obliged to finance you (by paying the bulk of your fees) for as long as your degree takes, this does not necessarily apply if you have changed degree courses part-way through – if you have moved from a three-year to a four-year degree, you may not get fee funding for the extra year and you should check this as soon as possible.

Do I need to pay Tax when on placement?

The UK Tax Year runs from early April each year. Everyone who is resident in the UK for tax purposes has a 'personal allowance', which is an amount of income you are allowed to earn or receive each year tax-free. (The basic personal allowance can be found here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/incometax/personal-allow.htm.)  After this you will be liable to pay income tax.  This will generally be deducted at source by your employer, pro rata throughout the year.  Although there are certain forms of income exempt from tax, namely grants and certain specified types of sponsorship, any income earned above the personal allowance will be subject to tax.

If you are working in the UK, your employer will deduct your tax under the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) scheme according to a code that is worked out by your local tax office (usually the tax office that the company uses). If you have worked before, make sure you take your P45 with you when you start work and keep all pay slips showing deductions. Obtain your P45 from your employer when you leave as this shows the total tax paid. If you have not worked before, your employer will ask you to complete a P46 when you start your placement. However, do not be surprised if, at the beginning of the placement you end up paying large amounts of tax, as before your code is worked out you may be put on an emergency code equal to the basic single person's rate. The difference will automatically be refunded when the tax office works out your code.

If you work across two tax years (e.g. from August to the following July), the correct amount of tax should be deducted in the first tax year (August-April). Upon receipt of a P60 form, which you should receive in April/May, check this out with the personnel office of your employer, since at this stage you may be entitled to a tax rebate.

If your total income during a tax year is less than the personal allowance, you can claim back any tax you have paid by filling in a P50 form. These should be available through the Students' Union when you return and you can claim back the tax paid (in any part of a tax year) as long as you do not intend to earn any further cash before the end of the tax year.

When you finish your industrial year employment you will be issued with a P45. This form must be kept, so put it somewhere safe and don’t lose it.

Do I need to pay Council Tax when on placement?

During your placement year, you still have student status. This means that you are exempt from Council Tax. However, you will need a Council Tax Certificate from the University to prove this.

Council Tax Certificates are required by local councils as evidence of student status before exemption for council tax can be granted. You are only exempt from paying council tax from your course start date to completion date. If your tenancy agreement starts before or goes beyond these dates, you will be liable for council tax for that period.

Council Tax Certificates are provided by the Student Records Office in the Registry. If your degree includes a placement year in the UK, certificates are available for collection prior to the placement start date. Details of how to get the certificate are available at https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-records/students/counciltax.html

When you log on for the first time, you will be given a unique user ID. Please do not lose this. On logging onto the site you will need to supply some basic security details so that the university can validate your ID. From this site you will be able to access and print your Council Tax Certificate, request one if yours has not yet been produced, and manage the release of your Council Tax Certificate to a third party ( i.e. local authority) allowing them to verify the information on the university’s web site.

Do I need to pay National Insurance when on placement?

If you are an overseas student, you will need to telephone Jobcentre Plus on 0845 600 0643 to arrange to get a National Insurance number before you begin work, so please apply early! Jobcentre Plus may require you to attend an ‘evidence of identity’ interview when you will be asked questions about why you need a National Insurance number, your background and circumstances. You will need to take your passport and a letter from the University confirming that you are a registered Year in Industry student. Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number

How do I go about paying Tax when on an overseas placement?

The question of tax on earnings outside the UK is extremely complicated. The position regarding the taxation of earnings abroad depends on the country visited and the length and purpose of the visit. In any case two liabilities may be incurred:

(a) Liability to tax in the country in which the money is earned.

(b) Liability to UK tax in respect of earnings abroad.

Each country has its own method of dealing with the earnings of non-residents. These vary so widely that details should be obtained from the Revenue Authorities of the countries involved. It is sensible to find out about your liabilities and responsibilities before you go abroad by checking with HMRC

If you are already working in the UK, you will probably need to fill in Form P85 and send it to the Tax Office. This is to let HMRC know that you are going to be out of the country, and it may help in the future if you have any problems with foreign tax. If you are not already working, there is no need to fill in this form.

How can I contact the Placement Team?

Contact our Placement Team if you have any queries:
email:csplacements@kent.ac.uk
Tel: 01227 827168

When do I have to decide if I want to do a placement?

Due to the way the majority of students are funded you need to have opted for a four year programme rather than the three year one before you commence your second year of study. However, you can shrink your degree to a three year programme instead of a four year one, so if in doubt about whether or not to do a placement apply for the programme with a Year in Industry and you can drop this before the final year commences.

Which programmes offer the Year in Industry option?

All our undergraduate computing degrees are available as four year sandwich programmes. This means that in between the second and final years of study students can undertake a Year in Industry.

What does the Year in Industry contribute to my final degree classification?

The Year in Industry constitutes 10% of your final degree grade, this is assessed through an employer evaluation, a reflective report and a logbook/portfolio.

What happens if I don't find a suitable placement?

You can transfer to the three year programme before the final year commences.

What happens if I don't pass Stage 2?

There are a few things you need to know about going on a Year in Industry if you need to resit your modules. Find out more here

Do I have to pay university fees during my Year in Industry?

During your year in industry, you will still be a student at the University of Kent and you have to pay a reduced tuition fee for the year. UK universities are allowed to charge up to half of the full current rate for tuition fees.  However, Kent has opted to charge less than a quarter.   In 2016/17, you will pay fees of £865.

The cost will be £1,350 for students starting their degree programmes in 2017/18.

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When do Master's placements start?

Most placements begin after students have completed their MSc project, which is the final part of the academic programme, typically in late September. However, some employers may prefer students to begin earlier. This is most likely for companies offering short summer internships. In such cases, subject to approval, students may defer their project and return to complete it when their placement has finished.

How are Master's placements assessed?

Placements are assigned a mark which counts towards your degree result. The mark is based on records of the work you undertake and reports you submit with input from your employer and the Placements Team.

What happens if I have resits?

You can only start your placement if you are have made satisfactory progress in the taught component of the MSc course. Find out more here

What fees do I have to pay during my industry placement (Master's)?

Please see the fees and funding page for more information.

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School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824180 or contact us.

Last Updated: 01/08/2017