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The Micro-Placements Programme

The Micro-Placements Programme is an exciting social-mobility initiative from City, University of London which aims to place select students, many of whom are from under-represented backgrounds, into short-term career-exploration projects during June and July 2021.

Due to the continued success of the Programme, we are delighted to now offer Micro-Placements to students as a 15-credit elective module. For the first time, students will now gain credits for completing their placement and will also have the module appear on their degree transcript.

You can work with a wide variety of courses at City, and they are listed here.

If you would like to offer a Micro-Placement project this year, please submit a Project Proposal Form.

What is a Micro-Placement?

Micro-placements are:

  • Work experience opportunities for students lasting 140 hours (min 4 weeks full time to 8 weeks part time, depending on your needs) in June and July 2021.
  • Focused on a project you assign which solves a business problem and has a clear deliverable for you e.g. report, whitepaper, presentation etc
  • An opportunity to develop a student’s employability skills including project management, communication skills, team work and initiative.

Hear directly from our students how completing a Micro-Placement supported their employability

Read third year student Kishan Chatwal’s story on how he credits his Micro-Placement as the reason why he feels ready to start his career here.

Why host a Micro-Placement?

  • Have a project with a tangible deliverable completed which adds value to your business and can solve real business problems
  • Benefit from students’ transferable skills and help develop students’ soft skills
  • You will be helping students become more employable and enhancing your Corporate Social Responsibility Agenda, with many students being from under-represented backgrounds
  • It’s time-efficient and flexible- students work on the project when it suits you, at low cost to your organisation
  • The Micro-Placement team does all the recruitment for you, from a pool of students whom have gone through a rigorous process including an application form, assessment centre and interview.
  • Have direct contact with our diverse pool of students - the 2019 publication of the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide included rating of institutions by the proportion of undergraduate students from ethnic minority groups for which City was ranked first in London and third nationally.
  • Establish long-lasting links for future employment - many students have been extended or hired as a direct result of Micro-Placements.
  • Give students keen to work in your sector vital work experience which could  improve the quality of graduate applications.

Read third year student Kishan Chatwal’s story on how he credits his Micro-Placement as the reason why he feels ready to start his career here.


Frequently asked questions about the Micro-Placements Programme

What measures are put in place for Covid-19?

In response to the uncertain situation Covid-19 presents, all student recruitment onto the Programme this autumn will be completed remotely- students will complete their workshop, interview and assessment centre virtually.

Should your submitted project pass the vetting process, we will match you with students Jan-May 2021. During this process. we ask that any contact you may have with the students including potential interviews be conducted remotely for the time being. We will review this policy again in early 2021 as the Covid situation evolves.

Where will opportunities be based?

Historically, we have found that our hosts and students prefer to undertake placements in person. In the office, students can maximise their learning and exposure to other elements of the organisation, as well as expanding their professional network. Therefore, where it is safe to do so and as per government guidelines, students will complete their project in the host’s office, subject to the relevant health and safety measures being put in place by the organisation. We also offer a blended approach where at least 50% of the student’s work is completed from the office, but they can work the rest from home.

Given the circumstances of the pandemic, should it at any point be deemed unsafe for students to go to an employer’s office, we ask that the project be completed remotely by the student from home for the duration of the placement.

How does the scheme focus on social mobility?

The Micro-Placements Programme is a great way of getting involved with outreach work and giving back to the community as part of your corporate social responsibility agenda. We encourage students from under-represented backgrounds to apply, as approximately 60% of students at City, University of London are from a widening participation background.

Widening participation students include the following:

  • Students from families where there is no previous history of higher education
  • Under-represented groups
  • Students from low-income backgrounds or low participation neighbourhoods
  • Looked after children or Care Leavers
  • Disabled students.

For more information on how Micro-Placements focuses on social mobility, please check out Office for Students blog post.

The Micro-Placements Programme was runner up for Best University Initiative at the inaugural Student Social Mobility Awards 2018 at the House of Lords

City is also a finalist for University of the Year for the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020.


What’s different with the credit bearing module vs other years?

For students to pass the module, they must complete 140 hours of placement (min 4 weeks full time to 8 weeks part time)

The course list available is more refined

We ask that employers log any student absence via a short form so we can monitor attendance.

A benefit of having credits attached is that it further increases the students' responsibility to complete the placement and thus the module in its entirety.

What types of projects can Micro-Placements include?

Micro-Placements must focus on the completion of a project which solves a business problem and results in a tangible deliverable of benefit to your organisation.

Micro-Placements projects:

  • Are self-contained projects with the aim to solve a business problem for you
  • Result in the creation of a deliverable of benefit to your organisation e.g. report, whitepaper, presentation, one pager, database etc
  • Are of sufficient complexity and have clear learning outcomes as the Micro-Placement is a credit bearing module in the student’s curriculum
  • Develop students’ employability skills including project management, communication, team work and initiative
  • Help students explore different sectors
  • Are small-scale: for completion in 140 hours

Projects can cover a wide variety of topics and can come from any department in your business. Examples of projects our students worked on in the past include:

Please see a link to an example project description.


How detailed does the project description need to be in the project form?

Please provide as much detail as possible in the project form so we can best assess whether the project is a good fit for the scheme.

We particularly ask for detail in the following areas:

  • Business question the student will answer
  • At least 3 tasks the student will complete
  • Deliverable the student will produce for you e.g. report, research paper, presentation etc
  • At least 3 learning outcomes/objectives for the student

Please see a link to an example project description, tasks, objectives and deliverable sections to give you an indication of the detail required. Please note you will be asked for more information in the project form you will submit e.g. address where the project will take place, person specification, confirmation of employer’s and public liability insurance, etc.


Can I submit multiple projects?

You can host any number of projects, with a recommended maximum of two students per project although more can be allocated if there is enough work to be done to fulfil the students’ learning objectives. Please submit one form per project as this will help us match the most appropriate student candidates for each opportunity.


Can multiple students work on the same project?

Multiple students can work on the same project. Please provide clear, distinct objectives and deliverables for each student to ensure a valuable learning experience.


Which degree disciplines are Micro-Placements students from?

All degrees are listed here.


What’s required of the host organisation?

  • Employer’s liability insurance and Public Liability insurance
  • London-based office space (zones 1-4) and equipment needed to complete the project
  • Ability to convert the project to be completed remotely if necessary
  • Ability to cover lunch and travel expenses.
  • Provision of a daily supervisor for the student
  • Provision of training if necessary
  • Have a health and safety policy in place including ensuring the office complies with government guidelines and is Covid-19 Secure.

Will Micro-Placement students be paid?

Participating organisations must cover travel expenses (where applicable) and either provide lunch or cover the costs of lunch (recommended £5-£10).


The student application process

Students undergo a highly competitive recruitment process to be successful on the Programme. The application process includes the following:

  • A mandatory workshop on CVs, applications, and Cover Letters prior to submitting applications
  • Virtual Assessment Centre (run by our partners Gradcore) and Interviews for shortlisted applicants
  • Students will also be attending a pre-placement webinar and health and safety briefing prior to starting their Micro-Placement to help them make the most of the experience.

What if I want the student for longer than the 140 hours?

At City, we also have access to the Santander Internship Scheme for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which could be an option worth exploring for offering paid internships if you would like to keep the student for longer. Please note that any time worked after the 140 hours should be covered by a separate agreement between the host organisation and the student and falls outside of the Micro-Placements Programme.


I would like to offer a Micro-Placement- what are my next steps?