Background Placements are a core component of learning within speech and language therapy (SLT) undergraduate and postgraduate university programmes. They facilitate the development of students' professional and clinical competencies and socialization into the profession. It is indicated that an optimal environment for placement learning often pivots on the mentoring, supervision and feedback the student receives.Aims To explore the perspectives of student SLTs in the Republic of Ireland in relation to factors that would best support their learning and competency development on placement.Methods & Procedures Qualitative data were collected from an anonymous online student survey that consisted of eight open-ended questions. Thematic analysis was applied to the data. Excerpts from the data were selected to illustrate the themes constructed.Outcomes & Results A total of 117 students responded. Four salient themes were generated that capture the students' perspectives of an optimal environment for placement learning and competency development.Conclusions & Implications This study supports quality assurance within the practice education of student SLTs and highlights aspects of an optimal learning environment that practice educators can strive to develop. In parallel, this study points to the need for improved supports from university personnel and placement site managers, and an increased need for student preparedness and self-reflection. Implications for continuing professional development specific to the role of a practice educator is described, in addition to the recommendation of an expanded perspective of supervision within SLT.What this paper adds What this paper adds to existing knowledgeWhat is already known on the subjectWhat are the potential or actual clinical implications of this work?Placements are an integral component of SLT undergraduate and postgraduate university programmes that enable students to translate theory to practice. Placement involves a transition from structured and predictable learning of the classroom to more dynamic learning environment within the placement site. Assessment of placement is carried out by practice educators using competency assessment tools. An optimal environment for placement learning often pivots on the mentoring, supervision and feedback that the student receives from their practice educator.This study explores student SLTs' voices in relation to what they consider an optimal environment for placement learning should be and what they believe may best support them in their journey to develop their clinical competencies. It supports quality assurance of the practice education of our future colleagues.The findings of this enquiry emphasize the distinction between competence as a SLT and competence as a practice educator and have subsequent implications for the content of continuing professional development for practice educators. In particular, an expanded perspective of the models and frameworks of supervision to promote and implement within the practice education of SLT students is presented.