Industry placement models for Creative and Design

There are 3 typical models for placements: Day Release, Block and Mixed. As long as the total time for each placement adds up to a minimum of 315 hours (and on average we expect placements to be around 350 hours), you can adapt the models to suit your business needs, and to align with the student’s course.

The placement model will be agreed between you, the college or school and the student. T Level students choose their specialism in Year 1. The placement can take place later in that year, or entirely in Year 2, or across both years.

Which model is best for you in Creative and Design?

Questions you may want to ask yourself when determining which model best suits your organisation.

  • how does the timing of the placement fit with the students’ programme of study and their learning objectives?
  • does the placement fit with the student’s course? Are there software or systems being taught during the course that could be of particular interest to you?
  • do you operate a continuous service, with constant work throughout the year, or is your work project-based or seasonal?
  • are there times of the year when you are more readily available to offer a placement to students? This might be either busy times to support your team or quiet times to showcase a role and your business fully.

Placement models

(using c.350 average hours as examples)


Day release

Year 1: 2 days a week, for 10 weeks using 160 of the 350 hours

Year 2: 2 days a week, for 12 weeks using remaining 190 hours

When this model might work:

  • Where regular support would be useful as your business pattern is steady and regular
  • Where you have tasks that need doing repeatedly
  • Where the mentor or line manager would prefer to limit their supervision time during a given week


Graphic design studio

A growing graphic design studio offered an industry placement to a student able to support increasing customer demand.

The student came into the studio 2 days a week during their second year to work on live client assignments. Tasks involved organising and prioritising projects for the senior graphic designers, proof-reading and second editing work before returning it to customers, attending client briefings and researching industries and trends to inform design work.

Over time the student was involved in more design work, creating concepts and creating graphics to client briefs, before being offered a full-time position on completion of their studies.

Social media content for an independent coffee shop

A high-street coffee shop that wanted to grow its social media presence and appeal to a younger audience, offered an industry placement to a student to support the development of their online profile.

The student began by spending time in the coffee shop talking to customers and staff to get a sense of why people drank there, what products were most popular, and which social media channels customers used. The student then helped to setup a series of social media profiles for the organisation and took photos, created videos and wrote posts to go out on social media on a weekly basis. Over time the coffee shop substantially increased sales to young people.


Year 1: A single block using 150 of the 350 hours

Year 2: A single block using the remaining 200 hours

When this model might work:

  • Where concentrated work is needed to meet a specific deadline
  • Where placement blocks can be aligned to project lifecycles or annual business processes
  • To allow managers to schedule and plan well in advance for groups of students


New art exhibition installation

An art gallery, installing a new exhibition, offered an industry placement to a student to support them to move and install the artwork to the curators exacting requirements. The placement was delivered in a block where the student was first given a thorough induction to the art gallery, to get them used to the space, hazards and requirements of the job.

They then worked with the art technician and curator to plan the exhibition and how best to move the artwork into the gallery. Once planning had taken place, the student supported the art technician in packaging and transporting the artwork and then installing it in the space for public viewing.

The student’s contribution was publicly acknowledged by the gallery and the curator at the exhibition’s opening event.

Archaeological dig

A team of archaeologists offered industry placements to two students to support archaeological technicians to excavate artefacts in the field.

The students came in on block release where they were given a thorough induction to the dig, the site and the techniques being deployed, and were briefed and trained for their role during the dig.

Once the dig had started, the students assisted with manual excavation of archaeological deposits, before supporting the washing, labelling, bagging and cataloguing of artefacts.

The experience gave the students first-hand experience of an archaeological dig and prepared them for appropriate university study and their ambitions for a career in the field.


Year 1: 2 days a week for 5 weeks, using 80 hours of the 350 hours

Year 2: A block using the remaining 270 hours

When this model might work:

  • Where a mix of regular and project-based activities can be worked into a placement
  • When it helps a student to understand your organisation in a phased way, building involvement as the student develops


TV production runner

An independent TV production company offered an industry placement to a student to give them a thorough overview of what it takes to work in TV production and give them ‘credits’ on their CV to improve their chances of working in the industry longer-term.

The student started the placement two days a week, where they worked with staff in production and post-production getting an understanding of how the company operates. They were also involved in keeping the media library up-to-date and supported staff where needed.

In the second year, the student came in for a block to support a 6- week production. During the production, the student acted as a runner by booking travel, assisting with call sheets, archiving and logging and attending set to prepare and organise personnel for the production. The student subsequently sourced their own apprenticeship based on contacts established during their industry placement.

University photography assistant

A university offered an industry placement to a student specialising in photography to support the in-house photographer to capture university life on campus and market the university through suitable imagery for their prospectus and website.

For the majority of the placement, the student attended the university on day release supporting the university photographer both on shoot and in the office. Tasks involved selecting, editing and filing photographs suitable for marketing or communication purposes and supporting the photographer on shoot with lighting, organising people and preparing camera equipment.

Towards the end of the placement the student came in for a block to support the university graduation process. This involved confirming appropriate release forms were signed and gathered, taking candid photos of students graduating and quickly uploading them to the university’s social media platforms.

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