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Health industry placements - Pre-placement



This section of the toolkit can help you identify activities to prepare students and employers for placement.  It can help you:

  • consider which aspects of the pre-placement process you want to review
  • make sure that T Level students have a clear and comprehensive picture of what the placements involve
  • assess students’ knowledge, skills, and behaviours
  • help you plan the timetable for placements.

How to use these resources

Select the relevant resources for your needs: 

  1. Student readiness timeline
  2. Skills, knowledge, and behaviours required for a placement
  3. Placement sequencing and timetabling

Use them to plan learning, set objectives, and sequence learning. Decide whether they are useful and relevant as they are, or whether they should be altered to suit your organisation.

Who are they for?

Share the templates and examples with staff who are involved in designing placements and specifying the learning activities students will undertake during placements:

  • T Level course leaders and tutors
  • other staff involved in placement design.

Student readiness timeline

A template and example to help identify activities that can help students and employers prepare for the placement before it starts. It can be used to:

  1. focus discussions with employers
  2. produce a timeline of activities.

Template: student readiness timeline


Student readiness timeline example
Timeline What Why How
Years 10 and 11 Start to make potential T Level students, parents, and carers aware of progression routes through school outreach, parent evenings, open days, taster days, etc. To provide information about the range and variety of progression routes and potential careers in health and science. Open days and taster events.
Before starting T Levels Bring to life the realities of health T Levels by enabling students to meet tutors, see facilities, taste the course content, and learn about placement opportunities. To help students become familiar with the staff, facilities, resources, and placement opportunities. To understand about vaccination requirements, travel, and work patterns. Leeds City College runs a 2-day summer school to provide information, advice, and guidance. The event helps students to understand the types of roles, health related values, and local employment opportunities. Students carry out practical tasks and learn more about placements from employers.
Create role descriptions with local employers. To give students a clear outline of the roles on offer and the experience needed to apply, so they can express their interest in the roles which match their interests, skills, and aspirations. See examples of role descriptions and expression of Interest forms in the Enrolment section of the toolkit.
Use ‘keep in touch’ activities to maintain contact. To help students stay engaged and committed to the health sector. The activities can provide information for initial assessments. Interesting, engaging activities to maintain interest and commitment.
Start of T Levels Year 1 Tell students about the prerequisites for placements such as vaccination, travel, and working patterns. To avoid future shocks or barriers by giving students information about the requirements for working in health and care. See the checklist of requirements in the Enrolment section of the toolkit.
Discuss the need for maths and English in health and science. To make sure that students understand how English and maths are used in health and care, and to identify where additional support is needed.

Havant and South Downs College (HSDC) use an app to develop employability skills assessments.

Carry out DBS checks and vaccinations. To complete these requirements before the placement starts. Weston College provides a dedicated vaccination clinic for T Level students.
Pre-placement Involve employers in activities about the range of roles in health and care. To familiarise students with the realities of different types of health and care work and link the content of the T Level curriculum to the realities of placement working environments. Colleges find that this helps to match students to potential placements. Activities vary from 6 to 35 hours, all counting toward placement hours.
Use facilities and resources in a realistic learning environment. To prepare students so that they’re ready to add value as soon as they start their placements. Havant and South Down College have invested in mirror wards and mannequins. Using a TRIP funded project, they work with local health employers to understand and adopt their specific health related processes, and these have been incorporated into the curriculum.
Create assessment days where employers and students can meet to get to know one another. To provide the information students need to produce relevant expressions of interest for placement opportunities they are interested in.

Providers and employers in Leeds collaborate on an assessment day with health values at its core. The activities used on the day provide useful information for students about what’s involved in the placements on offer.

Agree on the timing and model of the placement to fit with the employer’s and student’s needs and the structure of the curriculum.

To plan the placement so that students can apply their knowledge and skills and learn from the placement experience.

Discuss timing and models of placement with the employer.  It is important to remain flexible to suit the employer placement requirement and your curriculum planning.

Identify with employers the specific knowledge and skills students should have before starting their placement.

To prepare the student and help employers to integrate them into work teams as soon as they start the placement. 

Leeds City College makes sure that students gain their Basic Care Certificate as a pre-requisite for their placement.

See the template below showing the types of health-related knowledge and understanding required.

Skills, knowledge, and behaviours required for a placement

This template can be used to assess which skills, knowledge, and behaviours students can demonstrate before they start a placement. It should be agreed on with the employer and can be used to:

  1. show students what’s required in the placement
  2. assess the level students are at – this could include self-assessment
  3. discuss the student’s readiness with the employer.

Template: skills and knowledge assessment

Example: skills and knowledge assessment

Skills and knowledge



Student assessment

Basic care

Health, safety, and safeguarding


Manual handling, including bed-to-chair transfers


Infection control


Assisting with washing and dressing


Bed making


Assisting with mealtimes



With team and colleagues


With wider colleagues/departments/community


With patients and families


Reporting and recording

Restocking and stock rotation


Writing the care plan (care home/community setting)


Preparing risk assessment (care home/community setting)


Assisting with enrichment activity

What kinds of activities are appropriate for different patient types


Importance of patient activity/interaction


Taking physiological measurements

Weight, Height, BMI, Blood pressure, Oxygen sats, Heart rate, Temperature, NEWS2 scores, Urine outputs, blood glucose monitoring


History taking

Health and wellbeing advice


Drug and smoking cessation, alcohol, diet, exercise


Dementia awareness



Integrity checks


Identifying ways to aid recovery and improve integrity





Student assessment


Role and relationship to other roles


Care values – empathy, kindness, and patient centred


Excellent time keeping – flexibility of hours worked


Excellent communication skills – empathy and patient centred


Team working and collaboration


Reliable and enthusiastic




Maintain confidentiality


Eager to learn, ask questions, and support others



Clean, tidy, and hygienic


Wearing appropriate PPE to a situation – FIT mask


Minimal jewellery and make up


Clean, looked after nails, and regular hand washing


Mobile phone use

Understand the mobile phone policy


Understand the social media policy


Placement sequencing and timetable

A template and example to help sequence and timetable placements. It includes a summary of placement models being developed by providers. It can be used to:

  1. focus discussion between curriculum and employer engagement staff
  2. identify where input from employers is needed
  3. help produce a placement plan using the most effective model.

Template: placement sequencing and timetabling

Example: placement sequencing and timetabling

Placement sequencing and timetabling example


To consider

Notes (lessons learned)


Produce an overview of the health T Level curriculum in language that makes sense to employers.

Be prepared to dispel the myth that this is not work experience.

Structure the timetable to cover the prerequisites employers request before students start their placements.

Although not mandatory, the care certificate provides evidence of knowledge, skills, and behaviours valued by employers.

Student readiness

Identify ways in which employers can raise awareness of the wider context, options, and progression within health settings, to make effective use of the 35 hours of taster activity.

Weston College uses 3 days of employer-led taster activities to add breadth. Chichester College Group has developed four days of online employer-led activities such as 'a day in the life of’ showing the breadth of opportunities and specialist training.

Timetable student assessment windows with enough time to prepare.

Be aware of assessment pressure points and build in time for resits.

Allow plenty of time to match students to placements and build in enough time for them to re-apply if their applications are unsuccessful.

Matching takes longer than expected, as it has to consider multiple factors including career aspirations, geographic fit, aspirations, and suitability.

Placement planning

Explain to employers the constraints on being able to welcome students on placement.

Examples include winter pressures (Nov – Feb) and peak holidays reducing staff mentors.

Plan the placement over two years by plotting the times when students can be on placements and when they can’t. This will help when working out the best way to use the placement hours available.

Weston College uses this approach when negotiating appropriate models with employers. They have a 2-year curriculum plan for each T Level. They also use individual students’ placement timetables to track and monitor their time on the placement.  They work with the employers to identify the best timing and develop plans accordingly.

Consider how the timing of placements can help to make the best use of staff and other resources.

Staff resources can be used effectively by planning block placement for some students when others are in the classroom.

Capture the agreed placement arrangements, roles, and responsibilities in some form of SLA.

The student, provider, and employer must sign the industry placement agreement to secure all parties' agreement and commitment to the placement.

Models: examples of emerging placement models

Emerging placement models




Leeds collaboration

Providers and employers in Leeds have agreed on one model of industry placement for all students to ease planning. An induction day is held at the end of July in Year 1, followed by two days per week day release starting at the beginning of Year 2 in September.

This model builds students’ knowledge and skills base before they start the placements. It increases confidence levels and prepares them for the realities of their placement.

Manchester City College

Work tasters are used to support effective placement matching. The college has developed a process for allocating students in small groups to work across five or six employers during the 35 hours. The process culminates in matches being made based on preferences and fit.

This approach to using work tasters enables students to view the different options and gives employers the chance to meet them.

Weston College

Students start their placements with a week-long induction to the employer, followed by day release in Year 1 during which students complete the care certificate and care skills passport.

At the end of Year 1, students return to their placements for a further week during which they plan the content of the Year 2 placement. This is done with assessors, placement officers, mentors, and supervisors. The Year 2 placement comprises blocks of between one and three weeks. A final week is being planned to support employability options, progression, and next steps.

Initial induction raises students’ awareness of the breadth of opportunities, specific career options, skills needed, and training provided. Year 1, day release builds a good understanding of care in different settings. 

Involving the whole delivery team in planning Year 2 helps to make the placements meaningful for students and valuable to their employers. Block release builds in-depth and specialist skills and knowledge.

Havant and South Downs College (HSDC)

HSDC has a policy that no student should travel more than an hour to their placement ensuring a geographical fit. Matching is based on aspirations and placement availability.  Placements tend to use block models, reflecting employers’ requirements.

This approach allows HSDC teams to be creative and find opportunities that enable the development of skills and experience required by the students. Interesting opportunities have evolved.

Downloadable templates

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