Work Placement | University College Cork (2023)

Work Placement

"The Work Placement experience is invaluable...I had a range of tasks on a daily basis and was given as much responsibility as I was willing to take on. I specialised in research, strategic communications and event planning..."

In an increasingly competitive graduate employment environment, it is important to gain professional experience as well as a strong postgraduate qualification.

With this in mind, students of the MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy (previously MBS International Public Policy and Diplomacy)are given the option to undertake a 3 months or 5 months Work Placement as an alternative to the traditional research dissertation.

Why do a work placement?

Where can I do my work placement?

What other work placement options do I have?

Where have previous students done their work placement?

Student Experiences of Work Placement


Please contactn.duggan@ucc.ieif you have any queries regarding the Work Placement element of the MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy.

Why do a Work Placement?

The work placement allows students to apply their expert knowledge and learning to a professional working environment. The work placement consolidates the vocational skills acquired during the taught modules of the programme giving our students confidence in their skills when entering the jobs market and an important competitive edge over other graduates.

While our students are responsible for finding their own placement, thereby developing important career development skills, they are supported by a dedicated Work Placement Manager and Work Placement workshops and by the UCC Careers Service.

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Where can I do my Work Placement?

The MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy programme has built strong relationships with a number of international organisations who have committed to accepting one of our students on placement each year. Students apply to these Work Placement providers and undergo a competitive recruitment process. These organisations include;

The Egmont Institute

European Movement, Brussels


Villa Decius Association, Warsaw

Irish Embassy, Berlin

Mass State Legislature, Boston

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What other Work Placement options do I have?

The scope for work placement in the field of international public policy is essentially unlimited.

An ever more complex international environment has led to an ever increasing number of specialised think tanks and research institutions, local and international non-governmental organisations, advocacy groups and specialised government agencies.

Ireland is a member of a number of international agencies such as the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the OSCE and is home to a number of major development NGOs such as Trocaire, Concern and Goal.

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Furthermore, international advocacy groups such as Transparency International, Amnesty International and Oxfam all have a presence in Ireland.

Ireland is also well connected by air to all the major European cities, opening up further opportunities to our students.

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Where have previous students done their Work Placements?

Our students have undertaken placements in a variety of locations: some have remained in Cork, to work with the Irish Marine Energy Research Centre (IMERC) and IBEC, others have gone to London to work with the World Security Network while others travelled to Europe to work with the UK Permanent Representative Office, the Irish Embassy in Germany and the International Security Information Service.

Some students have gone as far as North America to work with the Massachusetts State Legislature Representative Kate Hogan, BASIC Washington, and in the Irish Embassy in Ottawa, Canada. Others worked with NGOs such as Transparency International, Amnesty International, European Movement, Dublin, and with TDs in Dáil Eireann (Ireland's parliament).

Below you will find brief summaries of a selection of work placements undertaken by graduates of the MSB International Public Policy and Diplomacy.

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Student Experiences

Transparency International Ireland

What the student said

‘I have learned many new skills from my time working with Transparency International Ireland. I have gained an extensive background and experience in communications and public relations. I have also increased my ability to incorporate public awareness and effectively campaign an issue.’

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Outline of Role

As Advocacy and Communications Executive the role was to support the organisation’s team in the work of advocacy, research, campaigning, and external communications.

  • Engage with people across Ireland through membership, partnerships, coalitions, meetings, media, and services by researching and opening value-based dialogues to assert TI Ireland’s values. Inform people of the role our values and work play in addressing corruption and related problems, and the opportunities to make Ireland a more open and fair society.
  • Take strategic and tactical control of the communications at the office and manage interaction with key decision-makers within the organisation whilst also managing its website maintenance and social media presence.
  • Establish a link between TI Ireland and the public. Assess who our audience exactly was and then target that particular group of people in our engagement.
  • The main projects that were assigned specifically to the student were to establish TI Ireland’s first quarterly newsletter since 2007 and to create the initial planning requirements for the National Integrity Award.

Student Highlights

‘The highlight of my work placement was the extensive correspondence with journalists, executives, politicians, and radio broadcasters. Arranging advisory and general meetings as well as interviews with these people was exciting to be involved in and it boosted my communication skills because I would deal with many media inquiries, sometimes on a daily basis. I also had the opportunity to gain media contacts of my own which may prove beneficial in future career prospects.’

European Movement Ireland

What the student said

The breadth of experience in a dynamic office, defined by high-standards and enthusiasm meant that my traineeship equipped me well for future roles and is the ideal launching pad for a career in EU affairs and beyond.’

Outline of Role

The internship involved a variety of areas of work;

  • Research and Writing: research contemporary topical issues, e.g. the Fiscal Treaty, the Cypriot Presidency, relevant events in Brussels, European statistics and Eurozone matters in general; write articles for a variety of forums, e.g. Public Affairs Ireland Journal and Talk to EU; draft letters, press releases, speeches and compile presentations
  • Social Media, Media and Event Management: update and use social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) to inform the public and to advertise events; Contribute to the development of a new website; Support the organisation of and attend European Commission Conferences; Attend launches and functions for various campaigns and projects; Media Monitoring- track the news every day to post on social media sites
  • Membership and General Administration: compile membership packs and engage with stakeholders; assist with general admin of office – petty cash, postage, phone cover, correspondence, maintaining stationary supplies.

Student Highlights

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  • - Attending the Taoiseach’s address at the Seanad
  • - Visiting the school where Minister Creighton awarded the Blue Star Award
  • - Hearing Ed Vulliamy’s presentation at the EU Affairs Committee
  • - The European Commission Conference in Tralee

Embassy of Ireland (Canada)

What the student said

The internship gave ‘exposure to work in an Irish Government office’ and a ‘greater appreciation of the demands of working in a DFAT mission’. The intern gained ‘practical experience in research and report-writing’ received ‘valuable feedback on writing style’ and gained an ‘appreciation of dynamics of office environment’ in addition to ‘exposure to Canadian politics and economy’ and a ‘new perspective of Ireland as viewed from abroad’ in a multicultural environment.

Outline of Role

  • Daily Media Reporting
  • Assist with Consular Services
  • Assist with the compilation of Crisis Response Plan for Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas
  • Research: Atlantic Corridors Opportunities Agency; Quebec-Ireland Bilateral Relations: Canadian Government ODA Spending
  • Ad hoc administrative tasks
  • Attend a meeting of the EU Economic and Commercial Counsellors at the EU Delegation

Student Highlights

Attending the Rwandan reception celebrating both the 50the anniversary of their Independence and the 18the anniversary marking the end of the Genocide and attending OYDISA – Diplomatic Training Meetings at the EU Delegation

See our Alumni pages for further information on where our graduates have found jobs and how the Work Placement has supported their career development.

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Do college work placements pay? ›

Someone doing work experience or an internship has the right to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, unless they're a student: on a placement during a higher education course.

Is work placement paid in Ireland? ›

Placements can be paid and unpaid. For paid placements, there is no set rate of pay. However, the standard expectation is that you will be paid no less than the minimum state wage as agreed by the Government at the time of your placement.

What is work placement in Ireland? ›

The scheme is open to host organisations in the private, public, civil service, community and voluntary sectors. WPEP is a scheme under the Pathways to Work Strategy 2021-2025. A previous placement scheme, Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS), which was similar to WPEP, finished in July 2021.

Is it hard to get into University College Cork? ›

Every year, around 3,250 seats are allotted for undergraduate course and 2,500 seats for postgraduate courses. University College Cork (UCC) acceptance rate is 41%.

Is it hard to get a placement year? ›

Some students are even offered a full-time graduate job after completing their work placement. However, finding and securing a work placement can be difficult. Applications for placement years can often be as lengthy as graduate scheme applications and sometimes even more competitive.

Is placement year worth it? ›

By completing a placement year, you automatically increase your chances of securing a graduate job. All the big graduate employers look for candidates who have completed work experience before graduation. You might get a job from your placement employers.

Does Ireland hire foreign workers? ›

You have to apply for an employment permit to work in Ireland. Non EEA citizens who already live in Ireland and have certain types of immigration permission can work without an employment permit. You also might not need an employment permit if you are joining your family in Ireland.

Is it difficult to get work in Ireland? ›

Despite the necessity of visas and work permits, working in Ireland as a foreigner is not as difficult as it is in other European countries.

Is a work placement the same as an internship? ›

The obvious difference is duration. Placement students work for a company for up to 12 months, whereas internships last anywhere between four weeks and four months. A placement year is a more extensive programme, and it's more of a commitment.

Can I get job in Ireland after study? ›

Students enrolled in Bachelors and Masters programs in Ireland are automatically eligible to stay back and find a job. Once you complete your studies, you can stay back and explore employment opportunities.

Is work placement the same as a job? ›

The type of work that you'll be assigned will vary depending on the role that you're taking on. Unlike work experience, placements are for school and university students who are ready to enter into the workplace, so you'll likely be performing similar tasks to full-time employees.

Are work placements paid for? ›

Placements can be paid or unpaid. If you take on an unpaid position, you will be free to work your own hours and should not be asked to carry out tasks usually completed by paid employees.

Is University College Cork prestigious? ›

Times Higher Education World Impact Ranking

Our score of 91.2 out of 100 puts us in the top 4.5% universities in the world for impact.

Is University College Cork worth it? ›

First of all its one of the best universities in the world with top class faculties and the university has the best research output. Secondly, less investment and just 1 year course with 2 years post study work permit and high chances of sponsorship.

What is the disadvantage of placement year? ›

One of the cons of doing a placement year is trying to find one in the first place. The application process for bigger companies tends to have many stages and can span the course of months.

Can you fail placement? ›

Whilst being relatively rare, students failing practice placements does happen and can be a very stressful situation for all concerned.

Do you get paid for a work placement year? ›

Placements are year-long programmes where you will take a year out of your degree to work in industry. You'll work full-time and get paid like any other regular employee.

Can I work full-time during placement year? ›

You can work full time on a paid or unpaid placement for more than 20 hours per week if it is an integral and assessed part of your course. You must not be self-employed, or employed as a professional or semi-professional sportsperson, or an entertainer.

Do you have to pay a student on a placement year? ›

As a placement year is part of your academic course, you will continue to be supported by the University and you will need to pay a tuition fee for the placement year.

How can Americans move to Ireland? ›

Before heading across the pond, it's best to consult current travel requirements, but it is possible for an American to move to Ireland. To enter the country, you'll need a current passport, and if you intend on staying longer than 90 days, you will need to obtain permission and documentation from Irish officials.

What jobs are in shortage in Ireland? ›

Skill shortages

Engineering - biomedical engineers, chemical engineers, electrical engineers, energy engineers. IT - app developers, data analysts, software developers, IT support specialists, programmers. Healthcare - doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians, radiologists, health managers and directors.

Can you immigrate to Ireland without a job? ›

Am I eligible to move to Ireland without a job? If you are moving to Ireland as a non-EU/EEA national without a job, you must be eligible for one of the Irish immigration stamps. There are a range of immigration routes open to those who do not have a job in Ireland.

What are the downsides of living in Ireland? ›

One potential disadvantage of moving to Ireland is the weather. The country experiences a lot of rainfall and can be quite cold, especially in the winter months. Additionally, the cost of living in Ireland is higher than in some other countries, such as Bulgaria or Romania.

What is the most demanding job in Ireland? ›

Check out our lists of the most in-demand skills and the most in-demand jobs in Ireland in 2023.
What Are The Most In-Demand Jobs in Ireland?
  1. Automation Engineer. ...
  2. Sustainability Manager. ...
  3. Data Scientist. ...
  4. Compliance Officer. ...
  5. Software Engineer. ...
  6. e-Commerce Manager. ...
  7. Web Developer.

Do you need to speak Irish to work in Ireland? ›

Yes. If you are fluent in English then working in Ireland won't be a problem. English is used in many of the professional institutes and companies as a working language.

Is work placement the same as volunteering? ›

In summary, work experience is outside of the definition of volunteering. Work experience has a set time frame and different legal implications and responsibilities in relation to insurance and can be paid/unpaid.

Is a placement the same as volunteering? ›

A placement contract would set out what experience will be offered to the student (e.g. shadowing and set learning opportunities/objectives). No formal contract for volunteering. Rather a recruitment pathway such as interview, induction training, etc.

Should you be paid for an internship or placement? ›

Nonetheless, there's no doubt that the best option is always a paid internship. You can be confident you'll be doing work that's contributing to the organisation and you won't have to worry that anyone is being exploited. View paid placement and internship vacancies on targetjobs .

Can an American study in Ireland? ›

Visa applicants must apply online for their visa - see 'How to apply'. If you wish to study in Ireland for less than 3 months you should apply for a 'C study visa'. If your course lasts longer than 3 months, you should apply for a 'D study visa'. You will need to provide the following with your visa application.

Is it easy for international students to work in Ireland? ›

So when the choice arises to accept jobs in Ireland after masters, multiple students happily agree. With an unemployment rate of less than 5% and the new Third Level Graduate Scheme in place, Ireland's job market for international students is quite favourable.

Is Ireland good for international students? ›

Ireland is such a good place to study abroad for such a wide number of reasons, including the standard of teaching and education, the career opportunities and the enjoyable lifestyle.

How long does a work placement last? ›

They could last from a few weeks, to a few months or a year (although yearlong placements are normally only done during study). Although most are carried out consecutively, some work experience placements can be done over a longer period of time, on a part-time basis.

What to do on work placement? ›

For more career tips, find out how to boost your job prospects once you're at university.
  1. Make a good first impression. First impressions really do count. ...
  2. Get to know people. ...
  3. Be organised. ...
  4. Get involved. ...
  5. Ask questions. ...
  6. Make suggestions. ...
  7. Offer to help. ...
  8. Make notes.

How long is a placement year? ›

whatever you want to call it, a placement year is essentially an extended internship that allows you to apply what you've learned on your degree to a real working environment. Your job role is usually related to your degree and tends to last between six and 12 months.

What happens if I don't get a placement? ›

Don't worry about it

For most professions, placements are useful but not essential. Not landing one isn't necessarily a major setback. There are alternative ways of gaining experience, including internships, shadowing roles, and voluntary work.

What are the benefits of attending a work placement? ›

What are the benefits of completing a Placement?
  • Offering you an insight into the 'World of Work' and allows you to get a feel for what you do and don't like doing.
  • Adds invaluable work experience to your CV which is attractive to graduate employers.
  • Provides the opportunity to work with a more diverse group of people.

How do I get work placements? ›

You may have a placement officer or tutor who can help you find work experience during your course.
  1. Work shadowing. Work shadowing provides a chance to watch someone doing a job for a day or a few days. ...
  2. Internships. ...
  3. Placement year. ...
  4. Insight events. ...
  5. Gap year and year abroad experience. ...
  6. Virtual work experience.

Do you get paid for industry placements? ›

Do I need to pay the student? Industry placements are about providing students with high quality, meaningful training, and work experience. Therefore, students are not entitled to a salary as the placement is forming part of a course of further education.

How does pay after placement work? ›

Under the PAP scheme, the student need not pay the fee until the student gets placed. So you can attend the course and there is no fee involved during the training period. You will begin paying from the time you get your first salary after you join an organization paying you 3 LPA or more.

Do you get paid on placement nursing? ›

Student Nurses currently do not get paid for the hours they do on placement. This has been an ongoing topic of debate for quite some time. However, this hasn't always been the case. Student Nurses were given a grant to help fund study and there were no university fees.

Does placement count as employment? ›

A work placement is a form of employment in which university students work full-time in an industry relevant to their field of study. Work placements usually last for 12 months and take place between the penultimate and final degree years, although in some industries shorter placements are the norm.

How long do work placements last? ›

They could last from a few weeks, to a few months or a year (although yearlong placements are normally only done during study). Although most are carried out consecutively, some work experience placements can be done over a longer period of time, on a part-time basis.

What is the difference between an internship and a placement? ›

The obvious difference is duration. Placement students work for a company for up to 12 months, whereas internships last anywhere between four weeks and four months. A placement year is a more extensive programme, and it's more of a commitment.

How long do placements last? ›

This means if you're doing a three-year degree, it'll stretch into four years – giving you three years of traditional study and an extra year working in industry. Placements normally run from July through to September of the next academic year. However, the length can vary anywhere between nine and thirteen months.

What are placement benefits? ›

13 Importance of Work Placement for Students:
  • Your Dream Job Catcher. ...
  • Applies Theory to Practice. ...
  • Develops Skill. ...
  • Insight Into the Workplace. ...
  • Feel of The Organisation. ...
  • Building Contacts. ...
  • Good References. ...
  • Opportunity to Convert a Work Placement Into a Real Full-Time Job.
Nov 23, 2021

Which course is best for pay after placement? ›

Top 5 Pay After Placement Courses to Get Enrolled In
  • Digital Marketing Course. ...
  • Data Science and Analytics. ...
  • Backend Development. ...
  • Front-End Development. ...
  • Full Stack Development.
Dec 28, 2022

How does work placement work? ›

A work placement is a period of supervised work, where you'll have the opportunity to experience working in a specific role with a company. A common problem for school leavers and university graduates alike is that employers want to see work experience as well as relevant qualifications.

Can you fail nursing placement? ›

In most cases, if you fail a module you'll be given one or two further attempts to pass. If you fail a clinical placement it may depend on the circumstances which led you to fail, as to whether you can have a second or third attempt.

How many hours a week do student nurses work on placement? ›

The programme is designed so that students can achieve the NMC requirements to complete 2300 hours of clinical learning by the end of their course. The standard working week whilst on a clinical placement is 37.5hours.

How many hours must student nurses work on placement? ›

Student nurses normally work 37.5 hours a week when on placement. For many, this leaves no time to make any money from work, which can make it unaffordable for many people to undertake a nursing degree.

Can placement students work full-time? ›

You can work full time on a paid or unpaid placement for more than 20 hours per week if it is an integral and assessed part of your course. You must not be self-employed, or employed as a professional or semi-professional sportsperson, or an entertainer.


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