Year in Industry: Barriers, Challenges and Motivations

Alice Shepherd, Business School and Mark Sumner, School of Design


There is a well-established link between completing an undergraduate ‘Year in Industry’ (YiI) placement and a subsequent improvement in both academic performance and graduate employability (Crawford and Wang, 2016; Jones et al, 2014, Hergert, 2009).

Although some literature explores student decision-making about YiI, the barriers that deter students from YiI options are not well understood.

Some authors suggest the main barrier is financial, linked to the prevalence of unpaid placements (All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, 2017; Lee, 2015).

This project explores the motivations and barriers that influence student decision-making about YiI options.

By analysing existing university data, combined with student surveys and interviews, a comparative study of student experiences and opinions was developed with undergraduate students from Leeds University Business School and the School of Design at the University of Leeds, two schools with very different placement contexts.

Read the Year in industry: Barriers challenges and motivations project report