Advice for parents about the career options for their children

Work experience/sandwich courses

A number of degree programmes offer students the opportunity to undertake work experience as a part of their course. These suit those students who prefer a vocationally biased learning programme, where they will be able to relate their learning to the world of work and undertake 'real world' activities alongside people in industry, in order to not only gain a recognised qualification in that field, but valuable experience to add to their CV upon graduation.


There are two types of sandwich course that cater for this:  firstly the 'thin sandwich' course where students undertake work experience throughout their degree programme, either in the UK or in some cases abroad. Secondly, there are 'thick sandwich' courses, which entail two years' initial study at a university, a third year on a relevant 'work placement', with the student then returning to university to complete their  degree programme.

An element of work experience is also available on some foundation degrees and other vocationally oriented degrees.


Wherever possible work experience should form an integral part of a university degree programme, as employers today look not only at qualifications achieved but how quickly and smoothly a new recruit will fit into their way of working and will be able to bring something in addition to their acquired learning in the form of interpersonal skills, leadership qualities and innovative approaches to problem solving.  Where many career paths look at degree level entry as a minimum requirement it can be essential to be able to offer something extra in the form of industry relevant skills or employability.

University careers service