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Level 5 – Preparing Students for Short Placements and Sandwich Placements (APDip)

What is a Short Placement?

A ‘short work experience’ is something that forms part of a work experience module and they typically include a period of work experience which lasts between 120-240 hours (or thereabouts), depending on how much academic credit the module is worth. They are formally assessed and graded, with the key feature being that students apply their learning in a real-world context during a short period of work experience.

What is a Sandwich Placement?

The formal requirements across the University are for your placement year to be a minimum of 24 weeks long (doing at least 30 hours per week on average) for it to qualify as a ‘sandwich placement’ or ‘year in industry’. This is split into multiple placements.  During the sandwich placement, students’ will also complete an Applied Professional Diploma giving them additional reward and recognition for their effort. This also includes students undertaking Work for yourself sandwich year placements. Visit the Applied Professional Diploma page for more information.

Download the Sandwich Placement and Applied Professional Diploma (APDIP) How To Guide.


This page provides activities that can be used by course teams to shape the curriculum delivery of their L5 H.S.E module, which aims to prepare students for their short placement and sandwich placement.  The short placement is where students experience real-world performance and professional practice, delve into and relate self to the wider world and get the opportunity to use digital applications in a professional context.

It is possible that level 5 is the first time that your students have had external engagement with an employer that is linked specifically to their subject-discipline. Therefore, it is suggested that you contextualise the activities to your discipline subject, we have provided some examples of this.

You’ll also find in this section of the ICfE site practical advice on potential health & safety and safe-guarding implications you and your students may need to address when setting up short placements and sandwich placements. As experts from the areas of Careers, Applied Learning, Enterprise and Digital Skills for employability, we hope that the activities we offer on this page help you in preparing your students for their short placement. Please let us know via email (C.E.Myers@shu.ac.uk ) how the activities have worked in practice and any comments from you and your students would be most welcome.  We also invite you to send us examples of your practice for this site, so we can share best practice across Sheffield Hallam.

Milestones for Level 5

More information coming soon.

Learning Activities for Curriculum Delivery

We, as a team of practitioners working with your students in Careers, on Live Projects, in the Enterprise i-Lab and with Digital Skills for Employability have compiled some learning activities that we think would help in the preparation for short placements and sandwich placements. We’ll add more learning activities over the coming months and years. We hope that we’ll be able to co-create and deliver learning activities with you in your learning environments. We are always on hand to offer our support.

Access the learning activities via the links below:

Case Studies – In Practice

Here you will find case studies that illustrate how some of the learning activities have been used in practice within course areas: Level Five Case Studies in Practice.

Preparing your Students for a Virtual Work Experience

Example screenshot of the Virtual Placement Resource homepage

We have designed a learning and teaching resource that aims to support your students whilst they are carrying out their short placement or sandwich placement.  It’ll be particularly useful for students, that find themselves on a virtual work experience (which, is highly likely in a CV-19 world).  The resource content is accessible to you and your students on the Virtual Placement Resource Site. There are learning activities on the resource that you might find helpful to use with your learners as part of their preparation. We’d welcome your feedback on any of the activities you use.

Due to the current global pandemic, many of your students will be taking part in a Virtual Work Experience rather than a face to face one.  Academics can find guidance and tips for preparing their students, within the top tips for preparing your students document. In addition, the Virtual Placements webpages offer top tips for your students.

Practical Requirements for Short Placements and Sandwich Placements

Please see the Placement Resources page for information on the current health & safety policy & guidance for short placements and sandwich placements.

Further information regarding the Enterprise Residency framework and guidelines can be found on the SHU Enterprise website.

Information for Students

There is information on MyHallam that will specifically support your students with their short placement and sandwich placement.  It may be useful for you to use similar language and terminology in your H.S.E Module delivery and guide.

Work for yourself sandwich year placements, offered by the University’s Enterprise Team are also a great way for students to develop their enterprise and entrepreneurial skills and attributes which are essential for either running a successful business venture or securing a graduate job.

A Placements Insights video playlist is also available, which highlights the experiences of students who have recently been on placement, as part of their degree courses.

Applied Professional Diploma

The Applied Professional Diploma (APDip) has been developed for students undertaking a sandwich placement. This award is tailored to fit their current and future career ambitions. The student will work with their Placement Employer, a designated Academic Adviser (or equivalent) and an Employability Advisor to build a portfolio, which evidences their ambition, progress against performance and impactful reflections. Your students choose a setting which will determine the type of APDip they receive in their final year, upon successful completion of their sandwich placement. The settings are: Research Consultancy, Community, Industry, International, or Enterprise. Further information for you and your students can be found here.

Colleen Heaton, Principal Lecturer and Employability Lead for the Department of Management has kindly shared the screencast that she uses with her students to highlight the benefits of completing the APDip.

Case Studies – In Practice

Here you will find case studies that illustrate how the Applied Professional Diploma has been approached in practice, within several subject areas:

Colleen Heaton also provides an APDip academic tutor briefing, as of January 2021, accessible below: