Placements - Information for Employers

In today’s data driven world, businesses and organisations collect a wealth of data – on everything from customers and service users, to staff and market conditions – but many find that they do not have the time, resources or expertise to get as much from this data as they would like. Over the course of a placement, our students offer the opportunity to draw insights from under-analysed data, producing useful and relevant conclusions.

A Q-Step placement student can...

  1. Design and deliver a quantitative research project on a topic of importance to your organisation.
  2. Utilise a range of data analysis techniques to provide new insights, answers to key operational questions and estimations of confidence in their conclusions.
  3. Communicate results to a variety of specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  4. Use in house statistical software where available, or access SPSS from their own device.
  5. Access technical and academic support for their project from an assigned supervisor from the University.

Download more information.

To discuss hosting a Q-Step placement student at your business or organisation, contact our placements officer:

Victoria Schoen - v.schoen@kent.ac.uk

Frequently Asked Questions


When, and how long, are the Q-Step placements?

The Q-Step centre runs two types of placement, each of approximately 200 hours:

Summer Placement 

In-year Placement

6 week placement during July and August (exact dates are flexible).

One day per week during the University’s Autumn and Spring semester (11 weeks per semester, October – April)


Is a salary required?

Summer Placement

In-year Placement

No salary currently required. Until 2019 the Q-Step centre has secured funding to provide stipends to our summer placements students, equivalent to a living wage.

Host organisations are asked to cover travel expenses.

No salary required. (The In-yearplacement forms part of the students University credit load - they complete this instead of a dissertation.)

Host organisations are asked to cover travel expenses.

What else is required from the host organisation?


After initial discussions, we ask that organisations complete a very brief pro-forma outlining details of the proposed placement.

There is a degree of flexibility as to the level of participation organisations have in the selection process. We aim to give our students the full job application experience - including CV submission and interviews. Organisations can participate in some or all of this process as per their preference, or we can complete the process independently and provide recommendations.


During Placement

We schedule two telephone calls with placement hosts, one towards the beginning and one towards the end of the placement. These are to ensure that everything is going well, and where there are no issues to address, can be very brief.


We also ask for a short debrief after the placement in the form of a phonecall and a short report (less than 1 side A4).


What is the timescale for setting up a placement?

We aim to open discussions with potential host organisations around November or December, with a view to starting placements the following July (for summer placements) or September (for year long placements).

The general timescale is as follows:



In-year Placements

Speak to the Qstep team to see if this is an opportunity that would fit well with your organisation

November and December

November and December

Work with the Qstep team to develop a research project for the students



Students will be given a list of organisations and placements and invited to apply



Interviews with organisations



Students undertake basic workplace preparation session with Qstep team



Placement runs

July - August

October –April

What kinds of projects could a placement student undertake?

We envision that placement students will assigned non-business critical but high potential projects.

This might be a question that your organisation sees potential in having answered, but which is not a day-to-day priority, and which the organisation has not hitherto had the resources to divert to.

With that said, there is scope for placement students to complete a wide range of projects – if you are unsure whether your business or organisation’s needs are appropriate for a Q-Step placement student, please get in touch.

Potential projects could include:


Compiling consumer profiles for a market research organisation based on a variety of demographic indicators.

Using data analysis to identity suitable businesses for a commercial bank to target for a new business account scheme.

Civil Service and Local Government

Analysing survey results pertaining to a new recruitment scheme, exploring demographics and reasons for applying or not.

Analysis of a city council’s activity against comparable cities across Europe using various metrics (e.g education, crime).

Charity and the Third Sector

Using national datasets to map demographic details to ensure that charity programmes are targeting the areas of greatest need.

Compiling and analysing impact statistics of a charity’s work to form part of an awareness raising campaign.

Will my organisation receive support in setting a project?

Yes. A researcher from the University of Kent can work with you to convert your organisations’ data and needs into a useful but realistic project idea for a placement student.

It’s worth noting that projects do not need to be specified in great detail – students are trained to take a basic project idea and develop it independently to produce useful research.

How are students matched to placements?

Students will be presented with a list of available placements, and be able to apply for those that interest them. We will then work closely with the host organisation to select the best applicant for their placement.

Students will provide CVs as part of the application process, and where appropriate interviews can be arranged.

What training will the students have received?

Please see our programmes for details of the academic content our students will have covered.

In addition to this, placement students receive several specific pre-placement training sessions focusing on applying their skills in an organisational setting and basic advice on what is expected of them in a workplace environment.

Organisations with specific training needs for placement students should contact us - where there is demand from multiple organistions for training in a particular area, there is scope for additional training sessions for students to address this.

What support is in place for students on placement?

We want the placement experience to be as close to the real experience of work as possible. Each student will be assigned an academic advisor, however, who can be contacted to deal with technical or academic issues, if/when these occur.

Additionally, there will be drop-in sessions available at the University to assist students with technical problems.

The Q-Step centre also has a placements officer, who is available to provide any administrative support required.


Having our placement student’s help has been invaluable. We have been able to look at an area of health need that we have not had the capacity to investigate. Her willingness to get on with the task has been refreshing, her report will support improved outcomes for some of our most vulnerable children

Nancy Sayer, Designated Consultant Nurse, NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group

The placement gave us the opportunity to explore an area of work we’ve always been curious about. The work was high quality, insightful and challenged our thinking, and will provide us with the foundation for further work. I’m looking forward to future placements, as they have been so beneficial!

Kapila Perera, Head of Research and Impact, Scope

This placement has enabled us to dedicate invaluable time to a specific project, which would have been impossible without additional resource. It’s great to be asked questions from a different perspective and have our thinking and understanding challenged. Thanks for the opportunity!

Emily Weitzel, Senior Analyst, Kent County Council



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Last Updated: 31/01/2019