Placements and their impact on Student Employability

Report
Placements and their impact on
Graduate Employment
Sarah Flynn
[email protected]
01707 286370 (3370)
Session outline
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Assumptions and rhetoric
What are the benefits of placement?
What does the policy literature tell us?
What does the research say?
Everybody is doing it…
How do we know what works?
Outcomes
• Seen what we know, and what is yet to be discovered
• Have thought about what you will do as a result of having come along today
Why do a placement?
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No choice
Only way to get a graduate job
Get work experience
Parental / peer pressure
Break into the industry / make contacts
Earn money
Get some ideas for a career
Get out of University
Travel
Ideas for final year project
• Academic theory into practice
• Improve their academic performance
What does the policy literature tell us?
• CBI and Universities UK report Future fit
Preparing graduates for the world of work
March 2009
• Students who undertakes a placement or
internship are immersed in the experience of
being in a real workplace, finding out what
it’s like working at graduate level. This can
help them understand more quickly what
skills they need and how to apply their
learning
• Credits towards a student’s degree from
participation in work related learning signal
the importance placed on the employability
skills and can be a very effective incentive.
What does the policy literature tell us?
• CBI and NUS report
Working towards your future, making
the most of your time in higher
education
March 2011
• Maybe your course goes further [than
skills development] and includes live
workplace experience as part of the
package.
• Whatever the length of the placement,
that kind of workplace experience is
enormously valuable if you’re
fortunate enough to have it built in to
your course.
What does the policy literature tell us?
• Wilson Review of Business and
University Collaborations
February 2012
• Sandwich degrees should be encouraged
through a new compact between
students, universities, government and
employers, reflecting the benefits to all
parties from the enhanced employment
outcomes
• Every full‐time undergraduate student
should have the opportunity to
experience a structured,
university‐approved undergraduate
internship during their period of study
What does the policy literature tell us?
• Institute for Public Policy Research and
Pearson Education
An avalanche is coming: Higher
education and the revolution ahead
March 2013
• The first fundamental challenge facing
the sector all round the world is how
can universities and new providers
ensure education for employability?
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How can the link between cost and quality be
broken?
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How does the entire learning ecosystem need to
change to support alternative providers and the
future of work?
Meat in the sandwich
Times Higher Education 4th April 2013
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2009 7.2% placement yr (9.5% in 1999)
National Apprenticeship Service
• 250,000
mid 1960’s
• 53,00
1990
• 520,000
2012
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The UK must build work experience
into higher education with the same
vigour as it did in the 1950’s,
Quintin McKellar argues
Could placements learn from apprenticeships?
• Shared sites advertising?
• Government support for SMEs taking
students – £1500 for first ten
• Could incentivise more placements within
SME (UH <40%)
• Guaranteed minimum wage – believes we
should only advertise those paying this
What does the research say?
• 2004
Survey of 66 graduate employers who take placement students, 69% of
placement students were offered graduate jobs, 80% of employers recruited
placement students with the primary aim of attracting them back to permanent
jobs, and 40% of annual graduate intake from these employers consisted of
former placement students (University of Manchester and UMIST).
• 2012
Traditional sandwich placement 75-100 students annually in Engineering. Those
who were on placement in 2009/10, 100% gained graduate level employment
within 6 months. Of the returning placement students joining 2012/13 final year
(82) 22 are conducting final year projects with their placement company and an
survey to all the students at Christmas showed that 26 had secured graduate job
offers so far and most others been offered a fast track on graduate recruitment.
(Queen’s University, Belfast)
In much of the early research there are
similar (mixed) messages….
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Duignan (2002,2003) found no significant difference between the performance
(using mean module percentage scores) of placement and full-time business
undergraduates.
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Gomez et al. (2004) analysed students on a bioscience degree over a two-year
period; found that females performed significantly better than males in the final
year and those taking the optional placement course performed significantly
better than those following the full-time degree in the final year.
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Mandilaras (2004) also found that placement students in an economics degree
had a significantly better chance of achieving a first or 2:1
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Rawlings et al. (2005) examined students graduating from information systems
degrees; found that the probability of gaining a first or upper second degree
classification was greater for students on placement rather than full-time courses
and also found that there was a significant interaction between second-year marks
and placement status on degree classification.
What about “non-traditional” subjects?
• Reddy and Moores 2006
• Psychology
• 414 students, 225 who took placement year (Aston University)
• Median final year percentage marks for students who had taken a placement
year are consistently better than students who had not; following further two
factor ANOVA analysis this was controlled for second year performance, and
improvement from 1st to 2nd year and still shows greater academic improvement
for placement students
• Also asked dissertation tutors to participate in a comparative analysis in terms of
their self management, attributes and research skills and students from
placement were ranked higher by their supervisors
what makes for employability in graduates overlaps substantially with what
makes them good researchers
What attributes / skills did the students
identify they developed on placement?
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Teamwork
Networking
Time management
Statistical analysis
Office etiquette
Making presentations
Research
Confidence
Decision making
Writing skills
Communication
Business awareness
Taking responsibility
Organisation
Self presentation
Maturity
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Communication (11)
Time management (3)
Confidence (8)
Taking responsibility (13)
Self presentation (15)
Making presentations (6)
Writing skills (10)
Teamwork (1)
Everybody’s doing it….
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Develop our curricula to enhance
student employability and to
incorporate opportunities for work
experience
Introduction of the Graduate
Attributes; enabling our graduates to
express these in the workplace is vital
Challenging students at induction to
make the most of their experience
An aspiration of mandatory work
placements for all undergraduates by
2020; because of evidence linking this
to graduate success
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95% of students in graduate employment
within six months of leaving
Very high student satisfaction levels
4 year courses with a voluntary placement
60% took up the option last year
Work in about 600 different locations
15% took a placement overseas
University first offered it 40 years ago.
What is new, though, is the students'
determination to take advantage of it
What about us?
But what is “placement”
Company visits
Usually undertaken as a supervised, group activity either as part of the curriculum or
outside, as an enrichment activity for students
Insight days
Offered and advertised by employers, aimed at first or second year undergraduate
students.
Internships /
Vacation placements
Practice placements
Projects
A short term placement opportunity usually offered and advertised by employers
although may also be secured through a speculative application. Taken by students at
any level of study in a vacation time or part time during an academic year. Elsewhere,
the term “internships” is used in another context to describe opportunities for new
graduates.
Governed by a formal agreement between the HEI and employers, these placements
are usually undertaken on programmes where qualification leads to a licence to
practice such as in health or education. Students will often do multiple practice
placements as part of their programme of study and employers may be involved in the
assessment of students.
Negotiated pieces of work, either group based or individual that may be sourced by
the HEI or the student and can be located at the employers’ premises.
But what is “placement”
Sandwich placement
Semester placements
Semester or Year
Abroad
Work shadowing
Work-based award
A placement equivalent of a year’s academic study (30-52 weeks depending on HEI
regulations). Typically taken by undergraduate students as the penultimate year of
their programme.
If a full time placement, it would be equivalent of a semester’s academic study (12-15
weeks depending on HEI regulations). May also be used to describe a part time
placement where a student integrates spending 1 or 2 days a week throughout the
semester on placement with their academic study.
When a student opts to study at an overseas HEI which has collaborative / reciprocal
agreement with their home HEI, this could include a period of work or may be study
only. This may be part of, or additional to, their degree e.g. ERASMUS scheme
Short term, informal activities where a student will spend time on company premises
but will have no contract or expectation of making a working contribution; it is an
observation opportunity.
A full programme where the employment setting is used as a contextual focus for the
learning regularly throughout the degree; either retrospectively through reflection or
prospectively through the setting of specific projects.
Where do the “easy” statistics sit?
Practice
placements
Sandwich
placement
Semester or Year
Abroad
Work-based
award
Governed by a formal agreement between the HEI and employers, these
placements are usually undertaken on programmes where qualification
leads to a licence to practice such as in health or education. Students will
often do multiple practice placements as part of their programme of study
and employers may be involved in the assessment of students.
A placement equivalent of a year’s academic study (30-52 weeks depending
on HEI regulations). Typically taken by undergraduate students as the
penultimate year of their programme.
When a student opts to study at an overseas HEI which has collaborative /
reciprocal agreement with their home HEI, this could include a period of
work or may be study only. This may be part of, or additional to, their
degree e.g. ERASMUS scheme
A full programme where the employment setting is used as a contextual
focus for the learning regularly throughout the degree; either
retrospectively through reflection or prospectively through the setting of
specific projects.
Outside the “easy” statistics…
How do we know what works?
Value and Impact Toolkit
Understanding
Value
Impact
• Non prescriptive
• Context specific
http://www.amosshe.org.uk/projects/vip
How do we know what works?
Can be difficult to directly
measure impact and therefore
we look to find “strong surrogates”
that provide a close approximation:
Innovate
Make a difference
People matter
Act with integrity
Customer obsessed
Trust and respect
How do we know what works?
There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say,
we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
Thinking about impact of placements on graduate employment in your context
• What are your known knowns?
• What are your known unknowns?
• What do you think the unknown unknowns might be?
The Graduate Market in 2013
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The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers for 2012
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11,300 paid internships and placements for 2013
Increase of 5% on 2011-12
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2,800 opportunities in investment banking (more than
there are graduate roles in the sector)
Lowest ratios are retail, accounting, consultancy
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Over half state “not very likely/not at all likely” to recruit
a graduate with no work experience (irrespective of the
academic results)
36% of 2013 entry level vacancies will be filled by
applicants who have already worked for the organisation
as an undergraduate; in some sectors this is over 50%
New research on the horizon…
• ASET is keen to work with other organisations to achieve
our mission of advancing the prevalence, effectiveness
and quality of work based and placement learning in
Higher Education.
• CIHE (Council for Industry and Higher Education)
undertaking a small scale research project looking at
placement provision in their member institutions.
• The research is being carried out by HECSU (Higher
Education Career Services Unit) in partnership with CFE,
who provide research services to employers and
organisations in the world of education and skills.
• Funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and
Skills
• National Centre for Universities and Business
Keeping in touch with the sector
References
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Driffield, N.L., Foster, C.S. and Higson, H.E. (2011) Placements and degree performance: Do
placements lead to better marks or do better students do placements?, ASET Annual
Conference 2011
Duignan, J. (2002) Undergraduate work placement and academic performance: failing by
doing. Conference Proceedings HERDSA Quality Conversations International Conference, 7–
10 July 2002, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. Available at
http://www.ecu.edu.au/conferences/herdsa/main/ papers/ ref/pdf/Duignan.pdf
Duignan, J. (2003) Placement and adding value to the academic performance of
undergraduates: Reconfiguring the architecture—an empirical investigation, Journal of
Vocational Education and Training, 55:3, 335–350
Gomez, S., Lush, D. and Clements,M. (2004) Work placements enhance the academic
performance of bioscience undergraduates, Journal of Vocational Education and Training,
56:3, 373–386
Higson, H. Jones, C. and Green, P. (2012) Work placements and degree performance: Do
placements lead to better marks or do better students do placements?
Mandilaras, A. (2004) Industrial placement and degree performance: Evidence from a British
higher institution, International Review of Education Economics, 3:1, 39–51
Rawlings, P., White, P. and Stephens, R. (2005) Practice-based learning in information
systems: The advantages for students, Journal of Information Systems Education, 16:4, 455–
464
Reddy, P. and Moores, E. (2006) Measuring the benefits of a psychology placement year,
Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 31:5, 551–567

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