Data bank for placement supervisors

Work placements are learning opportunities for students. They are also designed as opportunities for students to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice under supervision.

The placement supervisor is a professional of his or her field who introduces and supervises the student in the workplace. The supervisor supports the student’s professional growth and his or her development and learning process during the placement, encourages and motivates.

This page contains tips and advice on how to supervise placement periods effectively and productively.

Work placement forms

Work placement forms are available in the Studying section.

Before the placement

Draw up a plan

Prepare the workplace for the student’s arrival and his or her role in the workplace community. Don’t forget to explain who will be in charge of the student’s induction.

Draw up a practice placement plan. Take into account

  • the length of the period
  • consideration of the student in the workplace community
  • key objectives for the placement
  • tasks aligned with the objectives: tasks should be sufficiently varied with an appropriate workload, the student is guided and supervised, and he or she should have opportunities to observe other employees performing their tasks
  • the student’s free time
  • schedules of weekly meetings vis-à-vis the supervisor’s work duties
  • the student’s accommodation, pay, collective agreement and other practical matters.

Individual aims are determined in cooperation with the student.

Practice placements may include contents which are of specific interest to the student as well as other, new contents identified by the supervisor as important to support learning and experience.

Students should also learn that work duties often include routine tasks, and also get a range of experiences from different tasks in the workplace.

During the placement

Guide the student

The student will perform work tasks both independently and under supervision. In order for the student to get an overall picture of the workplace’s operation, he or she should be invited to different types of workplace meetings. Don’t forget to inform the student about the health and safety guidelines and any potential risks of the workplace.

Make sure that the student regularly receives guidance during the placement:

  • Give responsibilities.
  • Don’t leave the student alone.
  • Give tasks that will help the student to learn.
  • If necessary, start by giving small tasks and gradually give more responsibility.
  • Create opportunities for a sense of accomplishment.
  • Intervene immediately if the student’s attitude raises questions or concerns.
  • Require punctuality and adherence to schedules and other agreements.

Give feedback

Immediate feedback in normal workplace situations will help the student evaluate his or her performance and interaction skills. It should provide opportunities for choosing and justifying alternative solutions.

  • Give constructive and honest feedback for each work task.
  • In addition to giving information, aim to encourage the right attitude, feeling and motivation.
  • Encourage and praise.
  • Arrange interim discussions during the placement period.
  • Reserve a sufficient amount of time for the final discussion and joint review of the written assessment.
  • Be open to questions and criticism.

The person giving feedback doesn’t always have to be the placement supervisor. However, the supervisor should ensure that the person giving the feedback was present during the training situation in question.

The supervision process also involves listening. The student may ask questions that seem self-explanatory, and the supervisor should be patient and have the ability to see the issue from the student’s point of view.

It is important for the student to feel that any questions and thoughts he or she may have are taken seriously. Questions – and any criticism – made by the student can be utilised in the supervision process.


Keep in touch with the school and the coordinating teacher

The student has a named teacher who supervises the placement. The teacher liaises with the work placement organisation and ensures that it has the necessary information about the student’s degree programme, modules and and the aims of the work placement.

The teacher assesses the student’s learning in cooperation with the student and the supervisor.

You should contact the supervising teacher if

  • the student is absent for an extended period due to illness
  • the student’s attitude raises questions or concerns, or you are not sure
  • if the placement will be completed successfully
  • you have questions about supervision or the student’s tasks
  • you want to discuss anything else related to the placement period.

Problems? Do the following

Contact the supervising teacher as soon as possible in order to arrange a meeting. Alternatively the student can also contact the teacher. The teacher will discuss with the student and the supervisor in order to get an objective understanding of the situation.

A joint negotiation (the student, supervisor and teacher) will be arranged to discuss the causes and effects of the problem and identify potential solutions. The line manager of the work unit can also attend the negotiation, if necessary.

If the problem is related to the student’s learning abilities, the possibility of more intensive supervision will be determined and discussions will be scheduled in conjunction with interim reviews in order to support his or her learning

If the problem is related to the student’s lack of motivation, personal capacity or other personal problems, supportive measures will be discussed and agreed upon and, if necessary, the placement period can be extended or postponed.

If the problem is related to the student’s failure to adhere to agreements or the working principles of the unit, the discussion should focus on the student’s understanding of the importance of the placement period and his or her own commitment from the point of view of professional growth and development.

Each party’s views will be heard and discussed, the continuation and terms of the placement period will be determined, and additional discussions and reviews are agreed upon in order to resolve the situation.

In addition to support measures at the workplace, the teacher will agree on the necessary guidance discussions with the student. The student can also access support offered by the tutor, guidance counsellor and the student care team.

If there is a risk of the student failing the work placement, please contact the supervising teacher immediately.

At the end of the placement period

Give your assessment

Overall assessment should be based on the module objectives, the competencies of the programme in question and the nature of the workplace. The purpose of assessment is to develop the student’s personal and expertise and assess the effects of work, practices and his or her personal performance.

The assessment is based on the learning aims determined by the student and the placement organisation. The student’s self-assessment and the feedback from the supervisor are taken into account. The assessment should be both formative and summative.

Placement periods in the health and social care sector are assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. It is advisable to discuss the assessment with the student.

The primary purpose of the assessment is to support the student in his or her ongoing studies. That is why it is important that the student can discuss with the supervisor in order to clarify any ambiguities or unclear aspects of the assessment.

The assessment discussion often takes place during the placement period, but in some cases it is scheduled a couple of weeks after the end of the period. When drawing up the assessment, it is a good idea to hear the opinions of other employees in the workplace.