The Year in Industry is a well recognised gap year placement scheme run by the Engineering Development Trust. It helps pre-university and undergraduate students to find a placement within a company as an employee for a brief term of contract (usually a year, but negotiable).
The placements are real jobs with reasonable salaries, and students are almost always given serious work to do that actually contributes to the company. If you're planning to do a Year in Industry before starting your degree, it is well worth mentioning this on your statement, because admissions tutors seem to like it a lot.
Placements are available primarily in the fields of Engineering, Science, Business and IT, but there are also vacancies in Law, Architecture and Languages. The YinI website has a list of some of the placements currently available.
The Year in Industry is completely free to apply to.
Want to travel too?
Starting this year, the Year in Industry offer a combination programme called YinI Combo, which combines a shorter placement with a travel experience.
The travelling options currently offered are:
- Conservation with Coral Cay Conservation
- Summer Camp in USA or China with BUNAC
- Expedition with Raleigh International
- Voluntary Work with Projects Abroad
Each of the travel options comes at a special reduced price for YinI students, and you have the advantage of being able to afford it once you've worked for nearly a year!
Chartered Management Institute
One of the less-known features of the YinI is the Management course, run by the Chartered Management Institute (the CMI). The CMI course is optional, but many companies expect their students to attend. Don't worry though, it's not as boring as it sounds! The workload isn't too heavy and the face-to-face sessions are great fun. Best of all, it's externally funded, so you won't have to pay anything for it!
A large proportion of the work takes place online through a discussion board hosted by the college providing the course. As well as work, many students use this board for everyday socialising and arranging to meet up. Students not doing the CMI tend to feel 'out of the loop' and may not have much contact with their peers.
For the qualification, the experience and the friends you will make, the CMI course is highly recommended.
Loughborough Maths Course
One of the main reasons admissions tutors complain about gap years is that students tend to lose certain skills in the year away from academia. Maths is the main example.
On the Year in Industry, you can opt to take an extra course in Maths run by Loughborough University. This course is entirely distance-learning based and is designed to keep your maths skills up while preparing you for the level of maths you will need on an Engineering degree. It is especially suited for students who didn't do Further Maths A-Level, who often struggle to catch up in university.
The Lougborough maths course costs £120.
To apply to the YinI, the first step is to fill out an application form online at the YinI website. As this form asks for much of the same information as the UCAS application, many students choose to fill them out simultaneously. This is ideal, as late September is a good time to apply to YinI for a placement starting the following summer.
Applicants should note that, while important, the information on this form is not final and can be changed during the application process.
You will need to specify when and where you are able to work, paying particular thought to how far from home you are willing to travel. In some areas with many placements, such as London or the south-west, it may be possible to live with your parents, while in other areas such as Wales, placements are scarce and you will certainly need to move out.
Students living with their parents on the YinI enjoy a great deal of money, since they aren't spending any on rent. Those who move out are less well off, but enjoy much more freedom and may be more prepared for the frugality of Uni life later.
Interviews & Offers
After you submit your application, a member of your regional YinI office will contact you, requesting payment and work permit details. They will also arrange an advisory assessment day.
After assessment by the Regional Office, the candidates will be called for an interview. This interview can be conducted by telephone. During this interview, you will get a chance to discuss your options and what sort of placement you are looking for.
If accepted by the scheme, your details will the be passed on to suitable companies who may invite you to an interview. You may have several interviews, which mainly happen around March or April. If you are successful in the interview, you will be offered a job at the company, to start that summer or autumn, depending on what you have agreed with the company.
Once your place is confirmed, you may need to start looking for somewhere to live. Familiarise yourself with the housing market in the area using suitable websites, and start looking in earnest about a month before you are due to start work. Your YinI regional office will be able to tell you if there are any other students in your area who might want to share. Sharing accommodation is a good way to save money and socialise. Be prepared to travel to the area to view houses or flats, more than once.
The accommodation article has a lot of good advice on finding your first rented place.