Human Resources

Recruitment & probation

Employing students and work experience


This policy sets out Loughborough University’s approach to engaging students and graduates from LU or any other external organisation in the workplace. Although it focuses on students, some parts of this policy (e.g. volunteer work) can be applied to members of the public.  

These guidelines are to ensure that opportunities are managed appropriately and in line with best practice to avoid legal claims and negative publicity. 


Graduate Internships

  • Internships are career developmental opportunities providing practical experience in a field or discipline.
  • They are structured and normally last for around 3 years.
  • Internships are predominantly advertised positions and the selection process will mirror the University’s recruitment procedures (i.e. approval via HR/Finance, contract issued following a request to offer to the HR department).

Undergraduate Placements

  • Placements are part of an academic programme and take place during the academic year, including vacation periods.  
  • Placements provide students with the opportunity to gain  transferable skills and valuable work experience.
  • Placements are predominantly advertised positions and the selection process will mirror the University’s recruitment procedures (i.e. approval via HR/Finance, contract issued following a request to offer to the HR department).
  • Placement students must be paid on spinal point 7, grade 3.
  • In the event that a School wishes to employ a Placement Student and pay less than spinal point 7, or in the event that a student wishes to work at the University on an unpaid basis, a request must be made to the Director of Student Services or Head of the Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) for LU students or the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for non-LU students

Examples include:

  • A placement has ended during the year, and the student  still needs  to complete the DPS/DIS),. This will only be permissible where the placement forms part of the student’s course. The student must have completed at least 25 weeks of work in their previous placement(s) to be eligible to do an unpaid placement at LU.

Note, where an LU student’s placement has ended before the completion of their placement year, there is no onus on Schools/Departments to provide a placement opportunity for a student.

  • A placement student has secured at least 25 weeks with another organisation(s), but has been unable to source further opportunities in order to complete the 45 weeks required to receive the DPS/DIS.

This policy applies to placement students wishing to do a research based placement. 

Work Experience and Work Shadowing for LU students on Campus

  • LU students may undertake a short-term period (from a few hours up to 4 weeks) of unpaid work experience or work shadowing.
  • Short term work experience/work-shadowing opportunities are usually advertised via Careers Online and/or in Schools and may form part of the ‘Workshadow Scheme’ co-ordinated by the CEC
  • These provide the opportunity for students to gain a valuable insight into the ‘world of work’. Students may be expected to arrive at set times but will not be expected to ‘do’ any work with a material output.

Work Experience for non-LU students

  • These are usually short term unpaid opportunities for school/FE students under 19 years of age, and should be pursued via the student’s school, college or higher education institution who should contact the host department directly.
  • Students are eligible for work experience if they are in their last two years of compulsory education or taking post-16 courses.
  • Pre-16 placements generally will last for 2 weeks, and post-16 placements can be more varied in length.
  • Staff who work with a person under 18/adults in vulnerable situations as part of a work placement or otherwise may need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. It is a criminal offence to knowingly employ an individual barred by the DBS to work in regulated activity with children under 18/adults in vulnerable situations. A regulated position is one whose duties involve teaching, caring for, training, supervising, advising, treating or transporting children/vulnerable adults, either frequently, intensively and/or overnight. In the majority of cases supervision of young people on a short-term work experience placement will not fall within this definition of regulated activity. Good practice to enable the protection of all parties is to ensure that students on placement are not permitted to work unsupervised or in close confines with another individual.

Volunteer work

  • Someone may volunteer to do unpaid work so that they can gain valuable experience in the workplace.
  • It may be carried out for personal or career development, e.g. work shadowing.
  • In all cases, volunteer work will usually be short term (up to 4 weeks) or intermittent.
  • The volunteer must not be under an obligation to carry out the work
  • Receipted reasonable expenses may be paid to the volunteer (this is at the School/Departments’ discretion)

General Employment

  • Schools and Professional Services may employ students in circumstances other than those described above, e.g. to cover short term work over the summer, for example.
  • Normal rules regarding employing staff, including appropriate rates of pay will apply.

It is the responsibility of the department and/or School to keep a record of the work experience students they authorise and take along with the relevant risk assessments and relevant points of contact for the duration of the placement.