Making payments to industry placement students

Industry placements are about providing students with high-quality, meaningful training, not work.

Industry placement students are not entitled to a salary because the placement is part of a course of further education, in line with the National Minimum Wage in 2021. There is no legal requirement or expectation that students will be paid.

However, you can pay students if you want to. The goal is to help as many students and employers as possible to benefit from industry placements and to prevent students facing any avoidable costs.

You can choose to pay students a wage, and you can also pay bonuses and attendance allowances to cover the student’s travel and subsistence costs.

This article lays out the different types of payments you can make and potential reasons for each. The school or college can advise you about all of this and tell you what payments other employers are making.

Types of payment


  • Motivates the student to work hard and to deliver
  • Recognises the contribution made by the student to the business
  • Differentiates students from volunteers
  • Avoids negative effects on your reputation as a good employer which may result from unpaid work

Wages paid to students are subject to tax and National Insurance.

Wage to students already on the payroll as part-time workers

  • No change to existing terms and conditions of employment
  • The part-time hours count towards the placement, as long as they are occupationally-relevant
  • The provider can advise on any changes needed to meet the placement requirements

Bonus, if the student achieves agreed milestones

  • May motivate the student and boost their morale by incentivising achievement
  • This could be in the form of vouchers

Any bonuses should be clearly agreed in advance to avoid misinterpretation.

Allowance covering costs of equipment, travel, food etc.

  • Provides a safety net so the student isn’t out of pocket
  • Doesn’t affect families in receipt of benefits
  • Helps to remove financial barriers to taking part in the placement

Non-financial rewards

  • Can boost morale through recognition of achievement, achievement (for example, mentions in newsletters, case studies promoting their contribution)

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