How to overcome barriers to student engagement with work based placements (SPELT) : stage two

Willison, Debra (2017) How to overcome barriers to student engagement with work based placements (SPELT) : stage two. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. (

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It is well recognised in Higher Education that graduates who have participated in work based learning during their studies have enhanced their employability prospects once they leave university1. Almost half of the employers who took part in the High Fliers Annual Review of graduate vacancies commented that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer2. All five departments in the Faculty of Science participate, in some way, in placement/internship activity but a review of activity had never been undertaken. More importantly, the percentage of students engaged in these activities had never been determined. This project carried out such a review so that baseline activity can be established. Additionally the perceived benefits of placement/internship activity were established by asking relevant students to complete a questionnaire. Equally as important was the request to students who have not participated in an internship or placement to complete a separate questionnaire regarding the perceived barriers to these activities. Once this information had been collated into a report, a range of resources have been developed. These are currently being compiled into a guide to support students in securing internships and placements. This will highlight existing workshops delivered regularly by the Careers Service and employers and be complemented by student interviews about their placement activity to represent their perspective on this process. This compilation of practical advice will help remove the ‘fear’ factor around securing a placement.


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