University students are increasingly required to undertake lengthy unpaid placements, and for many students this needs to be balanced with the paid work they already do. The literature about internships has focused on whether internships help students get jobs post-graduation, or if placements are exploitative, given pay is minimal or non-existent. This article contributes to this literature by examining how placements affect students’ current paid employment. Vosko’s framework, published in 2010, which identifies the precarious features of the employment relationship and interrogates the social context and location of this employment, is drawn on here. The article is based on a quantitative and qualitative survey of social work students at an Australian university, who need to complete a lengthy placement. The argument made here is that the requirements of lengthy placements restrict the conditions in which students can engage in the workforce and by doing so increase the precarity of their workforce participation.