By Neil Hinwood, Head of New Ventures, Unite Students

It’s been an exciting year at Unite Students – NCUB member and the UK’s largest manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation.

In our mission to find new ways to fulfil our purpose – to provide the 50,000 students who live with us with a meaningful ‘Home for Success’ – we have been working on an innovation that will help our customers to get the most from their time at university, while improving their career prospects beyond their studies.

This innovation is Placer, our new work experience and job finding app, which we have developed in a joint-venture partnership with the NCUB and Jisc.

Placer has been created to help students gain easy access to the broadest possible range of relevant work experience and graduate job opportunities, so setting them on the way to their chosen careers after university. Its purpose is to address the shortage of work experience placements currently on offer to all students, nationwide, as well as helping break down the barriers to work experience and job opportunities for students from lower income backgrounds or those without word-of-mouth networks and connections.

Placer has already attracted many big brand employers to publish their vacancies directly with us – including NCUB employer members the BBC, Channel 4, HSBC, Linklaters, PepsiCo, Sage, Sky and Unilever. To date, 205 employers are signed up to the Placer platform, signaling what our earliest adopters believe: surfacing the latest opportunities and engaging with talented graduates needs to be direct, easy and achievable between lectures, on the move, anywhere!

In October 2018, the first six universities launched Placer to their students – Aston, Brunel, De Montfort, Exeter, Manchester Metropolitan and York St John – who are now plugged in to over 13,000 work experience and graduate roles. New opportunities are being added every day from our partner universities and employers, as well as via our partnership with Prospects.

We are keen to spread the word on the collective benefits of Placer to more universities, fellow NCUB employers, and other employer membership organisations.

If you would like to find out more about how your university can further help students into work experience or full time jobs, or as an employer how Placer can attract a valuable pool of the freshest undergraduate and graduate talent, then contact the Placer team who would be happy to tell you more. Email David Barker on

Unite Students’ partnership in developing Placer further demonstrates our value to the students living with us in our 130 properties across 22 leading university towns and cities in the UK, whilst also continuing to serve the UK’s higher education sector. It’s a very exciting time for graduate recruitment and we are thrilled to be keeping apace of this evolution and welcoming so many fellow NCUB members to join us. We look forward to updating you in the coming months but feel free to check in at the website until then.


Published: 26 November 2018