Cleveland Potash Summer Placement Programme

The ICL Summer Placement programme recently provided five work placements for students in their final year of university.

The aim of the programme was to encourage students to gain skills specific to their subject or industry of choice as well as the employability skills required for real-life work.

During the months of July through to September, ICL UK and our Tees Dock logistic facility offered students the opportunity to take advantage of a 12 week work placement.

Attending the placement were local students from Teesside University and two universities further afield, Leicester and Exeter.

These students were in their penultimate year at university or have just recently graduated.

The aim of the programme was to encourage students to gain skills specific to their subject or industry of choice as well as the employability skills required for real-life work.

It also increased their knowledge of an industry or sector, allowing them to make better informed decisions about future career choices.

The students worked on real life problems and situations and came up with plausible solutions in the field of Electrical Engineer, Surveying, Geology and Structural Engineer.



  • Improved skills and knowledge, including ‘softer’ employability skills, and specific technical skills and competencies
  • Increased understanding and awareness of the world of work accelerated personal maturity, self-awareness and ability to articulate skills and achievements
  • Placements provide the opportunity to be involved in team-based working, which provides a welcome contrast to the typically more individual-centric approach taken to academic study. This kind of experience is beneficial, and builds on the self-management and problem solving skills typically gained at university, with the ability to work collaboratively
  • Enhanced employment prospects and ability to compete in a turbulent graduate recruitment marketplace
  • Completing a placement can sometimes lead directly to subsequent employment with the same employer following graduation. It can be “a foot in the door” that could lead to a temporary or permanent contract
  • Interaction with other professionals while on placement can also bring strong benefits in terms of networking. For example, engaging with professionals in their chosen career-field can provide a foundation of contacts on which to build and draw upon in a future career.



  • Access to individuals with higher-level skills who can bring new ideas to the company
  • An additional resource
  • An inherent strength of a fixed-term placement is that it allows the employer to draw upon a temporary, and thus flexible, source of talent. Businesses often have discrete project requirements that lend themselves perfectly to a temporary appointment, particularly for an articulate individual with higher level skills
  • Add significant value to their business
  • Placement students that bring new ideas and an additional resource to a business will frequently in turn add significant value to the employing organisation
  • A route to support future recruitment
  • Taking on a placement student holds considerably fewer risks than recruiting a new full time employee and a high quality placement has the potential to identify key staff over the longer term that will eventually lead the business and help it grow. This is coupled with the benefit that little initial training is needed to convert a placement student into a fully-fledged member of a graduate programme, given their prior familiarity with the business
  • Supporting students to gain employability skills
  • Placements form an important part of a business’s ethos, corporate social responsibilities and identity by developing the skills of local students or those that are important to the future of their industry.


12 weeks – July-Sept


  • Adam Thompson (Electrical Engineering) – Teesside University
  • Sam Clark – (Geology) – Leicester University
  • Kingsley Ukabiala – (Civil Engineering) – Teesside University
  • Ross Dickenson (Rock Engineering) – Exeter University
  • Edward Donne – (Survey) – Exeter University