Everything you need to know about extracurricular work placements

22 September 2022 | University life

What are extracurricular work placements?

Extracurricular work placements are those which students can do voluntarily, ones which the student undertakes because they want to and not because they have to, although these work placements usually have the same purpose as obligatory work placements.

It’s important to note that because these work placements are voluntary they cannot be validated for an elective subject, although mandatory curricular work placements can usually be validated depending on the specifications of the syllabus of the chosen degree.

Just because they aren’t mandatory doesn’t mean students should dismiss the possibility of doing an extracurricular work placement. They are a good opportunity for students to take on additional responsibility and show commitment to their area of study. To get started, the company where you are going to do your work placement has to come to an agreement with the university.

Here’s some more information to clarify the difference between curricular and extracurricular work placements:

  • The second of these two options is voluntary. Extracurricular work placements don’t form part of the course syllabus, must be related to your degree to be able to be validated and the maximum grade that can be given for them is 5.9 out of 10. Moreover, we must stress that this type of work placement can be done during your summer holidays.
  • On the other hand, because this type of work placement is outside the mandatory curriculum, students who are going to undertake extracurricular work placements must register with the social security authorities. However, students doing curricular work placements are exempt from making social security contributions.
  • The objective of university work placements is to give the student their first experience and contact with the world of work, allowing them to apply the knowledge they are in the process of acquiring through their studies or have already acquired in earlier courses. Doing work placements also adds to a student’s CV which will help put them ahead of the competition when they finish their degree and apply for jobs.
  • Finally, when a student opts for an extracurricular work placement, both the company and the university are subject to the stipulations of an extracurricular work placement covenant, rather than a contract, to make sure everything is done within an exhaustive legal framework.

When can I do extracurricular work placements?

Extracurricular work placements can take place at the time which best suits the student as they are not mandatory and don’t have to be completed at a specified moment in the course. To decide when the work placement will take place, the company where you will do the placement has to come to an agreement with the university where you are studying. You can do a work placement at the same time as studying, or do the work placement during your summer holidays to be able to dedicate as much time to exams and coursework as you do later to your work placement.

How do I apply for extracurricular work placements?

Firstly, the company where you want to do your work placement must have the option available and places available for students to be able to apply.

In most cases this type of work placement, due to being outside of the obligatory curriculum, must be arranged by the student together with the work placement coordinator. In other words, it’s up to the student to look for work placements and find out whether the company has a covenant with the university or not as this could accelerate the process of arranging the placement. Once the student has found a placement they should speak to the work placement coordinator so they can take care of the necessary paperwork.

These voluntary work placements are often called internships. As we have already explained, these internships aim to give students who have finished or who are about to finish their studies the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have acquired during their studies in a work environment, as well as getting experience in the sector in which they have chosen to train.

These internships often involve financial remuneration in return for the work of the student and are a great opportunity to get some work experience.

In addition to bachelor’s degree work placements, which we have talked about throughout this post, we also need to mention master’s degree work placements and work placements for research and PhD students.

  • Master’s degree work placements: these take place after having obtained a bachelor’s degree and before beginning a PhD. All educational and specialized programmes include a work placement module and passing this is essential to be able to get the final qualification. Although, if the student decides not to do this module they will have to prove that they have a minimum of one year’s work experience which is related to the programme.
  • Research and doctorate work placements: these are designed for students who have got their master’s degree and want work experience to gain certain skills, abilities and knowledge to begin research which will later make it possible for them to access a doctorate programme. These work placements are often paid. Finally, we must stress that these work placements are offered by official bodies such as ministries, the public administration of each autonomous region of Spain, or by private organisations such as foundations, universities, etc.

At micampus we hope that this article answers any questions you may have about extracurricular work placements.

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