Work Placement in Third-Level Programmes. Edited by Irene Sheridan and Dr Margaret Linehan

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1 Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes Edited by Iree Sherida ad Dr Margaret Lieha

2 Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes Edited by Iree Sherida ad Dr Margaret Lieha The REAP Project is a Strategic Iovatio Fud Project

3 Foreword Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes is oe of a umber of sigificat outputs of the Roadmap for Employmet Academic Parterships (REAP) Project. This report draws together for the first time perspectives o placemet from all of the key stakeholders. I additio to providig a uique overview of the placemet experiece the project team have used the iformatio gathered to develop a useful, trasferable toolkit for placemet. Publicatio Iformatio Although every effort has bee made to esure the accuracy of the material cotaied i this publicatio, complete accuracy caot be guarateed. All or part of this publicatio may be reproduced without further permissio provided the source is ackowledged. Published by CIT Press, Bishopstow, Cork, Irelad. Desig by Rave Desig Prited by City Prit Ltd CIT Press 2011 ISBN The toolkit icludes guidelies for good practice for Higher Educatio Istitutios, Employers ad Studets. A blueprit Placemet Pack has bee developed for Employers ad for Studets which icludes a outlie base-level three way agreemet as well as a structured learig ad assessmet outlie which will go a log way to addressig the commuicatio deficits which were clearly articulated i the research. The REAP Project is a cosortium led by Cork Istitute of Techology ad icludig Athloe Istitute of Techology; Dubli Istitute of Techology; Istitute of Techology, Sligo; Istitute of Techology, Tallaght, Dubli; Natioal Uiversity of Irelad Galway; Uiversity College, Cork; ad Waterford Istitute of Techology. This work represets sigificat efforts by all project parters ad valuable iput from outside the project partership icludig Forfás, Expert Group o Future Skills Needs, IBEC ad a wide rage of employers, employers represetatives ad higher educatio istitutio staff ad studets. This publicatio will be welcomed by all ivolved i programme desig, i placemet plaig, ad i egagemet betwee higher educatio ad workplaces geerally. I would like to ackowledge the tireless efforts of the workig group i i publishig this importat report. Ackowledgemets This documet is based o cotributios from idividuals ad groups. The pricipal cotributors are the members of the REAP workig group listed i Appedix E. May others withi the parter academic istitutios ad elsewhere helped to make this work possible. Michael Delaey, Vice Presidet for Developmet, Cork Istitute of Techology. The REAP project is fuded by the Strategic Iovatio Fud Cycle 2 from the Higher Educatio Authority uder the Natioal Developmet Pla Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 1

4 Executive Summary The Iovatio Task Force ad the Natioal Competitiveess Coucil see the role of higher educatio as critical for o-goig developmet i Irelad as it provides sigificat opportuities to drive competitiveess both atioally ad regioally. A recet Irish Busiess ad Employers Cofederatio (IBEC) report (2010) also emphasises that stroger liks ad parterships betwee higher educatio istitutios should help to restore Irelad s competitiveess. Work placemets are recogised as oe of the early mechaisms for iitiatig parterships betwee higher educatio ad idustry. As the ature ad scope of busiesses are rapidly chagig, the competeces that future employees will require are also chagig. Work placemets afford opportuities for more collaboratio betwee third-level istitutios ad employers, i order to maximise resources ad prepare graduates with required competeces for the workplace. Competeces acquired from o-formal ad iformal situatios are essetial parts of idividual learig. The mai beefits of work placemets for HEIs, idetified by the research coducted with higher educatio staff, iclude opportuities to ehace etworkig ad mutual uderstadig with workplaces, itegratig employability skills ito the curriculum, ad applyig theoretical kowledge i practice. Cocers raised by higher educatio staff, i relatio to the work placemet, iclude difficulties i sourcig placemet opportuities for a growig umber of studets, lack of alteratives to placemets withi programmes, ad a lack of dedicated resources to orgaise ad moitor placemet learig ad the overall placemet experiece. To cotextualise work placemets for this report, a review of the extat literature o work placemets was coducted. These literature fidigs are summarised ad preseted i the first sectio of the report. Oe of the key messages arisig from the literature search is that the global ecoomic dowtur has placed a ew emphasis o employability ad trasferable skills. Work placemets provide a uique ad valuable learig experiece for studets to eable them to gai the trasferable geeric skills that employers seek. Blackwell et al. (2001) observed that good quality work-based learig has six characteristics: Stakeholders studets, employers, academic staff, ad employees all uderstad the uderlyig itetios. It is meaigful; The quality of work experiece is greatly ehaced by prior iductio ad briefig for all cocered; by facilitatio of o-goig reflectio; by debriefig, reflectio ad idetificatio of outcomes. Learig is the goal. Work experiece is accredited so that it is take seriously; Formative assessmet is used to support the process of learig from work experiece; Studets build up a work-experiece portfolio; Studets ca say what they have leared, provide illustratios ad, if eed be, commetary. There is effective reflectio. Agreed Beefits Ehacig etworkig ad mutual uderstadig betwee HEI ad workplaces Maitaiig curriculum relevace alog with opportuities to apply theoretical kowledge to practice Itegratig employability skills ito curriculum Cocers Raised Need for allocated resources to orgaise ad moitor placemet learig No cosistet framework for alteratives to placemets withi programmes Difficulty i sourcig placemets for growig umber of studets (particularly sourcig & maagig iteratioal placemets) Ackowledgig the importace of the three stakeholders i the work placemet experiece higher educatio istitutios (HEIs), employers, ad studets empirical research was coducted with these three cohorts to ascertai the curret state of work-placemet provisio. The fidigs from the research are preseted i the secod sectio of the report. Summary of higher educatio staff views o work placemet 2 Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 3

5 The mai motivatios for employers to be ivolved i placemet iclude opportuities to develop research liks ad egagemet with higher educatio istitutios, a recruitmet mechaism, ad the ability to cotribute to the overall developmet of employmet-ready graduates. Employers also outlied some of the mai beefits studets gaied from placemets, icludig opportuities to develop iterpersoal ad geeric skills, the ability to put theoretical kowledge ito practice thereby ehacig their future employability prospects. Cocers raised by employers iclude the preparatio ad lack of clear expectatios for all stakeholders, the short duratio of some placemets, ad the cotact ad commuicatio mechaisms with higher educatio istitutios. Agreed Beefits A recruitmet mechaism A opportuity to develop ad grow egagemet with the HEI A cotributio to the developmet of work-ready graduates Duratio of placemet Cosistet placemet structures Preparatio ad clarity of expectatio for all stakeholders Commuicatio ad clear cotact mechaisms with HEI Cocers Raised Overall, the fidigs suggest that HEIs, employers ad studets all agree that work placemets make a valuable cotributio to the third-level educatioal experiece. I particular, work placemets were cosidered to ehace the employability prospects of future graduates as the idustry competeces gaied through iformal learig i the workplace make idividuals more employmet ready. HEI Pla ad clearly defie resposibilities Stadardise duratio ad structure Ehace etworkig ad egagemet Dedicate resources Develop employer & studet placemet packs Desig structured alteratives to placemet Studet Participate i preparatory workshops Maage & clarify expectatios before placemet Take resposibility for achievig learig outcomes Egage i reflective learig activities Employer Assist HEI i developig placemet cotract/agreemet Develop job specificatio Support work place learig Ehace etworkig ad collaboratio with HEI More Commuicatio Summary of employers views of work placemet All studets represeted i this research foud work placemet to be a positive uique learig experiece, which was a good fit with their third-level programme, ad helped prepare them for their future careers. The mai beefits of work placemets, idetified by the studets, iclude opportuities to develop idepedece ad self-cofidece, etworkig, ad ability to put their theoretical kowledge ito practice. Some of the cocers raised by studets were difficulties associated with accommodatio, trasport, paymet, ad support from the HEIs. Improved employability skills - leadig to job-ready graduates Ehaced relevace of third-level programmes Closer egagemet betwee HEI & employer Agreed Beefits Uique learig experiece Cocers Raised Preparatio process ad clarity of job specificatio Stakeholders resposibilities for improvig the placemet process Career ehacemet ad etworkig Real exposure to a workplace role ad opportuity to develop idepedece ad cofidece Costs icurred ad lack of clarity o accommodatio The lack of cotact with the academic istitutio ad the lack of timely feedback or formative assessmet Havig reviewed ad aalysed the research fidigs, the project team developed a set of guidelies for good practice i placemet for HEIs, employers ad studets. These guidelies are provided i Appedix A. Recogisig that may of the cocers raised by all parties relate to preparatio, plaig, clarity of expectatios ad commuicatios, the REAP team developed outlie Placemet Packs for Employers ad Studets (Appedices B ad C). These packs provide a useful blueprit for improvemet of the placemet process. Summary of studets views of placemet Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 4 5

6 Cotets Foreword 1 Executive Summary 2 Cotets 6 1 Itroductio Backgroud Work Placemets ad Employability Skills What do People Lear at Work? Work Placemets ad Learig Beefits of Work Placemets Potetial Problems of Work Placemet 20 Refereces 59 Appedices Appedix A Placemet Practice Guide Guidelies for Higher Educatio Istitutios Guidelies for Employers Guidelies for Studets 68 Appedix B Studet Placemet Pack/Checklist 71 Appedix C Employer Placemet Pack/Checklist 82 Appedix D Note o Maagemet ad Assessmet of Placemet of Learig 92 Appedix E REAP Workig Group Membership Strategic Iovatio Fud Aims ad Objectives Roadmap for Employmet Academic Parterships (REAP) Project Structure of the Report 24 2 The REAP Project ad Work Placemet Itroductio Higher Educatio Staff Views Employers views Studets Views Issues Emergig from the Research 52 3 Coclusios 55 Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 6 7

7 1 Itroductio 1.0 Backgroud Work placemets are ot a ew type of activity or a ew tred i educatio. From the late ieteeth ad early twetieth cetury, Joh Dewey, a educatioal reformer, believed that life ad learig should be firmly itegrated. He asserted that: The icliatio to lear from life itself ad to make the coditios of life such that all will lear i the process of livig is the fiest product of schoolig (Dewey, 1916: 51). Dewey s ideas of experietial learig offer a firm basis for the value of learig through work experiece. This meas that workers who are icreasigly faced with ovel ad upredictable work demads must be able to lear o the job as requiremets emerge. Similarly, i the USA from as early as 1901, Herma Scheider, egieer, architect, ad educator, cocluded that the traditioal classroom was isufficiet for techical studets. Scheider observed that several of the more successful uiversity graduates had worked to ear moey before graduatio. Gatherig data through iterviews of employers ad graduates, he devised the framework for cooperative educatio. Cooperative educatio is recogised as a structured method of combiig classroom-based educatio with practical work experiece. A cooperative educatio experiece provides academic credit for structured job experiece. Work placemet programmes, therefore, have bee log associated with various types of appreticeships ad higher educatio cotexts throughout the USA, Caada, ad various Europea coutries. Academic disciplies such as medicie ad social work have icluded work placemets as cetral elemets i their programmes for may years. Studets o may of these programmes have always udertake a large part of their learig offcampus i exteral orgaisatios i the form of practice placemets ad exteded periods of time spet doig the job uder close supervisio. Work placemets have bee defied i a umber of ways, some more expasive tha others. All defiitios, however, iclude the key otio that work placemets ivolve gaiig experiece o the job ad are ow a recogised part of may third-level programmes. Coco (2000) suggested that work placemets are a plaed trasitio from the classroom to the job, ad are a atural bridge betwee college ad the work world. I Britai, the Departmet for Educatio ad Skills defied work placemets as: A plaed period of work-based learig or experiece, where the learig outcomes are part of a course or programme of study. This is usually provided outside the istitutio at which the studet is erolled. Work placemets may be part of a sadwich course, a short placemet, a work taster, temporary work or a period of supported employmet as part of vocatioal traiig. Placemets may also take place abroad. Studets may arrage their ow placemet, or they may be set up by the istitutio or a third party. (DfES, 2002: 2). I some coutries, the work placemet part of a programme is referred to as cooperative study or itership. I various third-level programmes, work placemet is frequetly offered betwee the secod ad fial year of a udergraduate degree programme. Courses of this ature are ofte called sadwich courses. Over the years, as ew techologies are itroduced, ew collaboratios are formed ad ew competitive challeges are faced, idividual workers must be able to lear to adapt. This calls for ew learig cocepts, strategies ad practices that assist i greater itegratio of work ad learig ad, as Boud ad Solomo (2001) suggested, it may be ecessary to look beyod traditioal educatio ad traiig practices to achieve this itegratio. Boud ad Solomo further proposes that educators must begi to cosider what the limits of their traditioal educatioal practices are i the cotext of learig at work ad what, if ay, ew practices ca be ivoked to assist this process. They suggests that: The covetioal separatio of learig ad work is breakig dow. Our practice is grouded at a very deep level i a set of assumptios about the separateess of learig ad work. Our practice as educators has bee depedet o this separatio. Our educatioal istitutios are separated physically ad coceptually from the poits of applicatio of learig ad we eed to fid ways of bridgig this gap. A report by Chappell et al. (2003:10) recogises this gap, suggestig that: If learig has become a itegral part of workig, arguably formal educatio ad traiig systems would eed to cosider what ew role they might play i the developmet of the workforce. Oe specific implicatio is that formal educatio ad traiig is o loger a stad-aloe itervetio i ecoomic productivity to have full effect it must be more systematically liked to wider huma resource maagemet strategies, ecompassig ew approaches to job desig ad work orgaisatio. A recet study coducted by Jackso (2006) with work placemet tutors revealed that the tutors perceived the learig potetial of a work placemet as beig huge ad varied. The placemet tutors observed that the diversity of learig, the fact that learig is cotextualised ad socialised, ad forms of learig (for example, emotioal itelligece ad copig with the uexpected) that are ot geerally recogised i discipliary learig cotexts all make the work placemet a importat eviromet for learig. For the purpose of this report, work placemet is take to mea a work cotext for itetioal learig that is relevat to the aims ad iteded learig outcomes of a higher educatio programme or module. Work ca mea paid or upaid employmet. 1.1 Work Placemets ad Employability Skills The chagig eed of higher educatio to iterface more effectively with idustry has bee widely documeted, as has the risig awareess of those attributes which most beefit graduates seekig employmet. Today, studets eed skills for lifelog learig; iformatio literacy; problem solvig ad critical thikig; the ability to work autoomously, aloe ad i groups. Reported iformatio deficits, where studets kow about specific subjects, but ot ecessarily how to operate i a workig eviromet, highlight the eed for third-level educatio, through its curricula, to foster this trasitio (Havard et al. 1998). A key way i which third-level istitutios ca build stroger parterships with employers, ad assist their studets i post-graduate success, is through the provisio of work placemets. Traditioally, i may areas of third-level educatio, teachig ad learig has bee orgaised aroud discipliary kowledge ad govered by academic iterests. More recetly, however, due to a icreasig focus o persoal trasferable skills by third-level istitutios ad demads made by icreasig umbers of studets, who view their Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 8 9

8 further studies as part of the atural trasitio process from college to work, there has bee a shift i programme focus to the developmet of more work-related skills (Krause, et al., 2005; Albrecht ad Sack 2000). The erosio of job security ad a chage i the ecoomic climate has also led to chagig career directios ad a ew emphasis o employability ad trasferable skills. Employability is becomig a key bechmark for career success (Carbery ad Garava, 2005). The purpose of work placemets has bee variously described as gaiig employability, acquirig trasferable or geeric skills, developig a uderstadig of world ad work orgaisatios, ad uderstadig the real world applicatio of skills (Baird, 2005; Pickles, 1999). Employability is geerally regarded as a set of achievemets, uderstadigs ad persoal attributes that make idividuals more likely to gai employmet ad to be successful i their chose occupatios. Yorke ad Kight (2004) add that employability is a bled of uderstadig, skilful practices, efficacy beliefs (or legitimate self-cofidece), ad reflectiveess. Higher educatio, therefore, has bee movig away from the traditioal kowledge-based approach towards a more competece-based learig focus (Gillies ad Howard, 2003; James, 2002). Thus, employability competeces have become part of the educatio ageda. This has etailed idetifyig with idustry the competeces eeded by graduates, both immediately ad later i their careers, ad the mappig the acquisitio of these competeces ito the curriculum. Employability competeces have bee defied as a dyamic combiatio of kowledge, uderstadig, skills ad abilities which are obtaied by a process of learig (Gozalez ad Wageaar, 2005). These competeces ca either be geeric (across all study areas) or subject specific (i a particular disciplie or sector). Accordig to Stewart ad Kowles (2000), employability is a cocer to studets, as oe of the prime motivatios i attedig a third-level college for the majority of studets is ot to study a particular subject i depth, but to ehace their employmet prospects ad quality of employmet. Some theorists suggest there are three key elemets to employability; the ability to gai iitial employmet, the ability to maitai employmet ad make trasitios betwee jobs ad roles withi the same orgaisatio to meet ew job requiremets, ad the ability to obtai ew employmet, if required, by beig idepedet i the labour market ad able to maage employmet trasitios betwee orgaisatios (Hillage ad Pollard, 1999). Graduates eed to leave a third-level istitutio havig acquired some if ot all of the skills required to facilitate their employability prospects. Moreau ad Leathwood (2006) suggest that there is a demad for third-level istitutios to deliver vocatioal ad marketable skills ad to provide a pathway to employmet. Research by Herbert ad Rothwell (2005) cofirms a shift towards employability skills beig icreasigly importat i the recruitmet ad selectio of graduate employees. Their research highlighted the value of work-itegrated learig, especially work-based placemets, ivolvig academic istitutios ad busiess orgaisatios. Similarly, Morse (2006) ad Fathore (2004) foud that may orgaisatios attach strategic importace to work-itegrated learig by offerig direct work experiece to those who may be their future employees. Their research also suggested that employers seek people who are work ready as opposed to merely academically qualified. For some HEIs, the workplace is see more favourably as a legitimate site for cotextualised learig that ca bridge the gap betwee theory ad practice ad promote the developmet of desirable core graduate attributes. The workplace provides opportuities for studets to lear i ad through work rather tha learig about ad for work, but, despite beig recogised traditioally i some professios such as egieerig ad ursig, it is ot a ormal mode of delivery for may third-level programmes (Keatig, 2006). Established programmes with a work-placemet elemet recogise that workig kowledge is rarely codified i text books, formal traiig programmes, competecy stadards or procedures mauals ad is more likely to be developed withi the cotext ad eviromet of the immediate workplace (Keatig, 2006). May researchers cocur that kowledge which ca be applied is far more valuable to studets tha explicit academic kowledge i that it is cotextual, social, ad situatio specific (Tucker, 2006; Symes & McItyre, 2000; Bowde 1997). Studets ca egage i real work practices i a work eviromet, lear how to commuicate with colleagues, ad deal with work related problems. Learig becomes less theory based ad more practical ad cotextual. Exposure to actual or simulated workplace tasks ad problems allows studets to experiece ever-wideig variatio i kowledge applicatio, ad to see the limits to their uderstadig ad how that eeds to be addressed; both of these are said to be essetial to deep learig ad for a capacity to deal with ovel situatios (Bowde, 1997). Workplace learig programmes are, therefore, desiged to capitalise o the iheret lik betwee theory ad its place i professioal practice. Recet research by Billet (2009) summarised that both practice ad academic settigs provide particular kids of experieces ad potetial cotributios to studet learig, ad each of these settigs affords particular potetials for the learig of occupatioal practice. I Britai, the profile of work placemets i third-level istitutios was raised by the Natioal Committee of Iquiry ito Higher Educatio, which recommeded idetifyig opportuities to icrease the extet to which programmes help studets to become familiar with work, ad help them to reflect o such experiece (Dearig, 1997). The mai skills for graduates which were idetified by employers i the report were commuicatio, umeracy, capability i iformatio techology, ad learig how to lear. Small to medium size eterprise employers also emphasised that they eed employees to operate effectively i the workplace from the first day ad graduates also eed to be flexible ad resposive. A extesive report o work placemets coducted by Harvey et al. (1997) cocluded: If there was to be a sigle recommedatio to come from the research, it would be to ecourage all udergraduate programmes to offer studets a optio of a year-log work placemet ad employers to be less reluctat to provide placemet opportuities. Similarly, a more recet report by Johso ad Burde (2003: 39) cocerig youg people, their employability, ad the processes of iductio ito the workplace cocludes that: May of the employability skills that employers are seekig ca oly be leared i real life situatios, eve o a temporary basis such as work placemets of two or three weeks. There is a limit to the extet to which educatioal establishmets ca teach the ecessary skills ad attributes, eve where extesive efforts are made to simulate the work situatio. Little (2000) observed that most curriculum frameworks agaist which learig from work experiece are mapped idetified a rage of skills, icludig persoal ad social skills, commuicatio, problem solvig, creativity ad orgaisatioal skills. Later research by Little ad Harvey (2006) oted that the explicit idetificatio of these skills seems to serve as a useful prompt to studets ad employers to address these i discussios about suitable tasks ad activities for a work placemet. This summarises much of the approach of the available literature which adopts a skill developmet approach orieted to the workplace. There is less reportig o the extet to which there is a positive trasfer of learig from the placemet to subsequet stages of a idividual s learig through the taught programme of study. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 10 11

9 1.2 What do People Lear at Work? Kowledge creatio ad the deploymet of ew kowledge i the workplace have give rise to the workplace itself beig recogised as a site of learig ad kowledge productio. This cocept is a itegral feature of the kowledge ecoomy. Brea (2005) suggests that, if higher educatio is to cotiue to make a cotributio to the kowledge ecoomy, collaborative activities based i ad aroud the workplace must be icluded. There has bee a cosiderable shift i the way idividual learig ad developmet is uderstood ad characterised. There has also bee a move from idetifyig traiig eeds to idetifyig learig eeds, suggestig that developmet is owed by the studet with the eed, rather tha by the traier seekig to satisfy that eed (Nikolou-Walker, 2008). I other words, learig is demad led rather tha provider drive. This has implicatios for whoever idetifies the eeds ad the way that those eeds are met. Curret thikig suggests that eeds are best developed by a partership betwee the idividual ad the orgaisatio, ad that the methods of meetig these eeds are ot limited to formal courses, but also deped o a wide rage of o-the-job developmet methods ad distace or e-learig approaches. Recet studies have summarised that people lear at work as follows: By doig the job itself; Through cooperatig ad iteractig with colleagues; Through workig with cliets; By tacklig challegig ad ew tasks; By reflectig o ad evaluatig oe s work experieces; Through formal educatio; Through extra-work cotexts.; (Heikkila, 2006; Tikkamaki, 2006; Billett et al., 2005; Colli ad Valleala, 2005). Irish research coducted by Garava et al. (2003: 3-4) viewed learig as a process rather tha simply a outcome. They suggest that learig is ow likely to embrace the followig ideas: Learig is ot just about kowledge. It is also about skills, isights, beliefs, values, attitudes, habits, feeligs, wisdom, shared uderstadigs, ad self-awareess; Learig outcomes ca be icremetal (buildig gradually o what has already bee leared) or trasformatioal (chagig ways of beig, thikig, feelig ad actio); Trasformatioal learig, for some studets ad orgaisatios, may be a struggle, may take time, ad may ivolve coflicts over aims ad outcomes; By its very ature, learig is essetially idividual, but it ca also be collectively geerated i teams ad orgaisatios; There is o oe right way to lear for everybody ad for every situatio; Questioig, listeig, challegig, ad equirig are crucially importat to effective learig; The learig process occurs iside the perso, but makig the outcomes explicit, ad sharig them with others, adds value to the learig; Whe the learig process is self-maaged, it becomes more effective. Eraut (2004), after developig a typology of learig outcomes at work, summarised that there is little that people caot lear at work. The typology icludes the followig categories of learig outcomes: (i) Task performace, icludig subcategories such as speed ad fluecy, rage of skills required ad collaborative work; (ii) Awareess ad uderstadig, ivolvig uderstadig of colleagues, cotexts ad situatios, of oe s ow orgaisatio, problems, risks etc., (iii) Persoal developmet with aspects such as self-evaluatio ad maagemet, hadlig emotios, buildig ad sustaiig relatioships, ad the ability to lear from experiece; (iv) Teamwork with subcategories such as collaborative work, ad joit plaig ad problem solvig; (v) Role performace, icludig leadership, supervisory role, delegatio, crisis maagemet etc., (vi) Academic kowledge ad skills, such as assessig formal kowledge, research-based practice, theoretical thikig ad usig kowledge sources; (vii) Decisio makig ad problem solvig, ivolvig, for example, dealig with complexity, group decisio makig, ad decisio makig uder coditios of pressure; ad (viii) Judgemet, icludig quality of performace, output ad outcomes, priorities, value issues ad levels of risk. It is clear from the above learig outcomes that idividuals lear by workig with their colleagues. Group workig, i oe way or aother, promotes kowledge exchage ad the sharig of expertise, thus ehacig learig by idividuals. Furthermore, it has bee argued that ot oly idividuals but also groups ca lear i orgaisatios. The ability to lear i collaboratio with other people, both withi ad outside a orgaisatio, ofte makes the differece betwee success ad failure. Accordig to Slotte ad Tyjala (2003), employees who caot etwork with others to share ad costruct kowledge will fall visibly behid their peers i the possessio of such abilities. Iteractio betwee ovices ad experts is also of crucial importace i learig at work. Overall, idividual ad group learig i the workplace ca be characterised as a highly social activity which requires iteractio ad dialogue, requires the kids of challeges that make learig ecessary, ad ivolves reflectio o past experieces ad the plaig of future activities. The articulatio of clear learig outcomes is cosidered to be a cetral feature of ay type of learig. A statemet of learig outcomes associated with the placemet provides studets with a uderstadig of what is tryig to be accomplished. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 12 13

10 1.3 Work Placemets ad Learig There is a widespread cosesus i the work placemet literature that just kowig applicable theory is ot eough: studets must kow whe ad how the theory is to be applied (Clarke ad Wich, 2004). It is further suggested that whe more self-directed learig becomes possible outside of the classroom, studets are ecouraged to fid creative resposes to situatios, rather tha relyig o the stereotypic or pattered resposes that classroom roleplays ad simulatios ofte geerate (Regehr et al., 2002). Badura s social learig theory outlied three requiremets for people to lear ad model behaviour: retetio (rememberig what oe observed), reproductio (ability to reproduce the behaviour), ad motivatio (good reaso to wat to adopt the behaviour): Learig would be exceedigly laborious, ot to metio hazardous, if people had to rely solely o the effects of their ow actios to iform them what to do. Fortuately, most huma behaviour is leared observatioally through modellig: from observig others oe forms a idea of how ew behaviours are performed, ad o later occasios this coded iformatio serves as a guide for actio (Badura, 1977: 22). Badura argued that learig is embedded withi activity, cotext ad culture, but social iteractio ad collaboratio are also essetial compoets of learig. He further observed that studets become ivolved i a commuity of practice which embodies certai beliefs ad behaviours to be acquired. As the begier or ovice moves from the periphery of a commuity to its cetre, he or she becomes more active ad egaged withi the culture ad evetually assumes the role of a expert. Extesive research by Eraut (2007a, 2007b, 2004) o how idividuals lear at work, particularly i the early stages of their careers, cocluded that ot oly do people lear i differet ways, but they also lear differet thigs. Eraut suggested that placemets provide cotexts for learig of a very differet kid from those provided withi third-level istitutios, but he wared that, ulike i teachig orgaisatios, learig is ot the mai aim of most workplaces. He observed that i most workplaces learig is iformal ad occurs as a by-product of egagig i work processes ad activities. Newcomers ofte have to lear how we do thigs here without beig give ay specific objectives or advice. I their research o workplace learig, Boud ad Middleto (2003) sigle out three sigificat areas of iformal learig : mastery of orgaisatioal processes, egotiatig the political, ad dealig with the atypical. They believe that this list eatly captures the areas of uderstadig that caot be leart i the de-situated, de-cotextualised eviromet of the educatioal classroom. They further suggest that i the classroom both the practical world providig the object of academic study ad the istitutioal structure of the educatioal orgaisatio itself are kept largely at bay, as the classroom shields studets from istitutioal politics i the practical as well as orgaisatioal fields. They believe that the learig challeges of the classroom are ot subject to the urgecy ad practical imperatives impressed upo real-life situatios ad orgaisatioal cotexts. Their research cocluded that the practical judgemet required to deal with these three dimesios of social life is best gaied iformally through participatio i social life. Learig about ad withi the workplace as a istitutio, icludig its politics ad its potetial poits of breakdow, is ot simply a aspect of work that eeds to be leart to do the job, but also a cotext for developig ew uderstadigs ad approaches to learig ad to life itself. A umber of other researchers have also explored the cocept of iformal learig ad cocluded that: Iformal learig should o loger be regarded as a iferior form of learig whose mai purpose is to act as the precursor of formal learig; it eeds to be see as fudametal, ecessary ad valuable i its ow right, at times directly relevat to employmet ad at other times ot relevat at all (Coffield, 2000: 8). We must move away from a view of educatio as a rite of passage ivolvig the acquisitio of eough kowledge ad qualificatios to acquire a adult statio i life. The poit of educatio should ot be to iculcate a body of kowledge, but to develop capabilities: the basic oes of literacy ad umeracy as well as the capability to act resposibly towards others, to take iitiative ad to work creatively ad collaboratively. The most importat capability ad the oe which traditioal educatio is worst at creatig is the ability ad yearig to carry o learig. Too much schoolig kills off a desire to lear. Schools ad uiversities should become more like hubs of learig, withi the commuity, capable of extedig ito the commuity. More learig eeds to be doe at home, i offices ad kitches, i the cotexts where kowledge is deployed to solve problems ad add value to people s lives (Leadbeater, 2000: ). Empirical research coducted by Cheetham ad Chivers (2001) attest to the wide variety of ways i which idividuals acquire competece. They suggest that much of the learig required to attai full professioal competece actually takes place after the completio of formal educatio. They go further by addig that, beyod iitial qualificatio, usually via a combiatio of formal educatio ad structured traiig, most professioals evidetly progress their professioal learig via iformal ad icidetal learig, with little if ay emphasis o formally orgaised learig. This, they coclude, highlights the critical importace of iformal learig. The terms work-based, work related ad workplace learig are used iterchageably i the research literature. Levy et al. (1989) defie work-based learig as likig learig to the work role ad idetify three iter-related compoets, each of which provided a essetial cotributio to learig: Structurig learig i the workplace; Providig o-the-job learig ad traiig opportuities; Idetifyig ad providig relevat off-job traiig ad learig opportuities. The term cooperative educatio is also used to describe this approach to learig. I additio to these terms, service learig is used i North America to refer to commuity based experieces that are liked to academic studies. All of these learig experieces are desiged to eable studets to lear from their workig eviromet Seagreaves et al. (1996) further developed the idea of work-based learig ad suggested that likig learig to the requiremets of people s jobs has three strads: Learig for work: to icrease studet employability; Learig at work: this strad relates to a idividual s activities udertake as part of their job role ad icludes delivery i the workplace of at least some compoets of the course, ad flexibility over time ad assessmet arragemets; Learig through work: learig is cetred o ad through the work eviromet. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 14 15

11 Of these, arguably learig through work, relates most closely to the role of professioal work placemets: i.e. studets lear ad test their skills for the professio by doig the job uder supervisio. This is distict from simply gaiig experiece ad also fulfils the coditios of beig a employee, albeit a closely supervised oe. Illeris (2002), i his geeral theory of learig argued that work placemets offer studets three dimesios of learig: the emotioal, the social, ad the cogitive, which he believes must be take ito accout for all learig. Illeris (2007) further argued that all learig always icludes these three dimesios: the cotet dimesio of kowledge, uderstadigs, skills, abilities, ad attitudes; the icetive dimesio of emotio, feeligs, motivatio ad volitio; ad the social dimesio of iteractio, commuicatio ad cooperatio. He also commeted o the sigificace of the iterplay of these dimesios, as iflueces received from the eviromet are socially co-determied (Illeris, 2004: 434). Other theorists such as Kolb (1984) also ackowledged the value of learig outside the classroom, where there are ew challeges to practice ad to reflect o their outcomes. Kolb also highlighted the socio-cultural cotext of learig ad emphasised the roles of colleagues ad workplace metors i studet learig i work placemets. Buildig o earlier work by Joh Dewey ad Kurt Levi, America educatioal theorist David Kolb s experietial learig model is oe of the most familiar learig theories. He argued that learig is the process whereby kowledge is created through the trasformatio of experiece (1984: 38). The theory presets a cyclical model of learig, cosistig of four stages: Cocrete experiece (doig); Reflective observatio (observig); Abstract coceptualisatio (thikig); Active experimetatio (plaig). Kolb lists the essetial characteristics of experietial learig as follows: A process model as opposed to a product model of learig; A cotiuous process grouded i experieces; The resolutio of coflicts betwee diametrically opposed adaptatios to the world; A holistic process; Trasactios betwee the perso ad the eviromet; The process of creatig kowledge. Kolb s four-stage learig cycle shows how experiece is traslated through reflectio ito cocepts, which i tur are used as guides for active experimetatio ad the choice of ew experieces. The first stage, cocrete experiece, is where the studet actively experieces a activity such as a lab sessio or field work. The secod stage, reflective observatio, is whe the studet cosciously reflects back o that experiece. The third stage, abstract coceptualisatio, is where the studet attempts to coceptualise a theory or model of what is observed. The fourth stage, active experimetatio, is where the studet is tryig to pla how to test a model or theory or to pla for a forthcomig experiece. I summary, Kolb believes that reflectio is a essetial elemet of learig. The practice of reflectio has also bee highlighted by Fik (1999) who terms reflectio as dialogue with self i his model of active learig. This is see as a essetial skill that all studets eed to acquire if they are to become active learers. The work of Schö (1987) has gaied promiece i ursig educatio where reflective practice is a core elemet of all courses, but his research applies to all work-based learig ad, it could be argued, to all learig situatios. Schö believes that uless studets reflect o their progress they will ot lear to correct their mistakes ad feedback will become merely a formulaic activity. Work placemets provide positive opportuities for learig i this maer, as oe of the mai aims of all work placemets is to promote reasoig, aalytical, ad evaluative abilities i studets through reflective practice. Studets will develop reflective abilities durig the course of their learig o placemet. Boud et al. (1985) also believe that reflective practice is a importat feature i work placemets as it features the idividual ad his or her experieces, leadig to a ew coceptual perspective or uderstadig. They have defied reflective practice as: A geeric term for those itellectual ad affective activities i which idividuals egage to explore their experieces i order to lead to ew uderstadigs ad appreciatios (Boud et al., 1985: 19). Boud et al. proposed a three-stage model of the reflectio process focusig o: returig to the experiece, attedig to feeligs coected with the experiece, ad re-evaluatig the experiece through recogisig implicatios ad outcomes. This model has subsequetly bee exteded ito a model for facilitatig learig from experiece. The features of the model iclude the followig: reflectio is grouded i the persoal foudatio of experiece of the studet, that is, those experieces which have shaped the perso ad have helped to create the perso he or she is ow, ad their itet which gives a particular focus to their learig i ay particular cotext. Learig occurs through the iteractio of the perso with his or her material ad huma eviromet the learig milieu ad is assisted through the studet givig attetio to oticig what is happeig i their iteral ad exteral eviromets, iterveig i various ways to ifluece themselves ad the eviromet i which they are operatig ad reflectig o their actios cotiually to modify their behaviour. Similarly, more recet research coducted by Blackwell et al. (2001) added that work experiece itself is ot ecessarily itrisically beeficial, but, it is the learig that a idividual derives from the experiece that is importat. They further observed that reflectio is a essetial complemet to learig at work, ad argued that good quality work-based learig has six characteristics: Stakeholders studets, employers, academic staff, ad employees all uderstad the uderlyig itetios. It is meaigful; The quality of work experiece is greatly ehaced by prior iductio ad briefig for all cocered; by facilitatio of ogoig reflectio; by debriefig, reflectio ad idetificatio of outcomes. Learig is the goal; Work experiece is accredited so that it is take seriously; Formative assessmet is used to support the process of learig from work experiece; Studets build up a work-experiece portfolio; Studets ca say what they have leared, provide illustratios ad, if eed be, commetary. There is effective reflectio. Little (2006) cocurs o the importace of reflectio ad suggests that if learig opportuities are to be maximised i o-traditioal forms of work experiece, the studets eed some kid of structure ad support i order that they reflect upo ad articulate the learig. Little summarised that it is geerally recogised that if the learig from work experiece is plaed ad itetioal from the outset it is easier for studets to reflect o it ad to idetify what has bee leared. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 16 17

12 1.4 Beefits of Work Placemets May third-level istitutios worldwide regard work placemet experiece for udergraduates as a key cotributor to high academic stadards ad to the employability of their graduates (Reddy ad Moores, 2006; Little ad Harvey, 2006). Research also shows how studets themselves value placemets. Respodets from differet disciplies ad from diverse idustrial experieces cofirm that work placemets ehaced their uderstadig of career choices ad provided a tagible lik betwee theory ad applicatio (Walmsley et al., 2006; Neill ad Mulhollad, 2003; Blackwell et al. 2001). Harvey et al. 1997) claim that may of the beefits from placemets caot be measured by covetioal academic methods ad that there is sigificat aecdotal evidece cocerig the beefits of work experiece i geeral. While participatig i the delivery of a traditioal third-level programme, academics ad studets may realise that they have ot had the opportuity to relate their learig to real practice. Where this is the case, studets may have missed a importat part of the educative learig possibilities of the workig eviromet that they pla to eter. Tucker (2006) summarised that, i a work eviromet, studets ca egage i real work practices, lear how to commuicate with colleagues ad to deal with work related problems. Learig becomes less theory based ad more practical ad cotextual. It is ow widely accepted by educatioalists that work placemets provide a uique ad valuable learig experiece for studets, particularly providig studets with a rage of persoal experieces that relate to ad itegrate with their prior academic experieces, ad placemets are see to ecourage studets to participate i the adult world of work (Daloz Parks, 2001). Real world processes, icludig people ad problems with which the studet ca egage, are ecoutered withi the work eviromet (Aylig, 2006). Exposure to actual or simulated workplace tasks ad problems allows studets to experiece wide variatio i kowledge applicatio, ad to recogise the limits of their uderstadig ad how those limits eed to be addressed essetial elemets for deep learig ad for a capacity to deal with ovel situatios (Bowde,1997). Research coducted by Bowes ad Harvey (2000) cofirmed that studets optig for degrees which cotai placemets are better placed for employmet whe they graduate compared with studets who lack this experiece, reflectig the coclusio that placemets are see by employers ad graduate employees as the sigle most sigificat missig elemet of the majority of degree programmes (Harvey et al.,1997). What idividual studets do i the work placemet, as well as the ature of the experiece ad the learig derived from the experiece, will vary sigificatly withi the may geeral descriptios of work placemets. I ay work placemet, some of what the studet actually does ad therefore what the studet lears ad how they lear it are primarily determied by the employig orgaisatio ad the studet s ow decisios. The specificatio of these items at a geeric level also typically ivolves egotiatio betwee the employer, the placemet tutor (from the third-level istitutio), ad the studet. Research by Madilaras (2004) ad Gomez et al. (2004) explored the correlatio betwee work placemets ad fial degree attaimet. The results of their studies showed that: Participatio i the placemet scheme sigificatly icreases the chaces of obtaiig a upper secod or higher degree class (Madilaras, 2004: 39). A British Higher Educatio Academy report o work placemets foud that: The overwhelmig majority of studets perceived positive chages i their approaches to study as a result of the placemet experieces. Such chages related both to issues of cofidece ad motivatio to study geerally, ad to a sese of more active egagemet with learig tasks (Little, 2006: 61). The beefits of work placemets have bee covered extesively i a study by Harvey, et al. (1998). These are summarised as: Beefits to studets Workig i a settig which puts theory ito practice; Developig a awareess of workplace culture; Appreciatio of the rapidly chagig world of work; Opportuity to develop a rage of persoal attributes (e.g. time maagemet, self cofidece ad adaptability); Developmet of key iteractive attributes (e.g. team workig, iterpersoal ad commuicatio skills); Short-term fiacial beefits as some studets get paid while o work placemet; Ehaced employmet prospects ad the potetial for commadig higher wages whe startig employmet after graduatio; Assistace i developig career strategies, such as help with career choice, becomig aware of opportuities, ad buildig up a etwork of cotacts; I some cases, livig ad workig i aother culture. Beefits to employers Extra workers at low cost; Settig up of a ew project; Completio of specific tasks; Opportuity to give a potetial recruit a trial without obligatio; Usig studets reflectio o work experiece as a recruitmet criterio; Havig a pool of potetial recruits with some geeral awareess of workplace culture; A ijectio of ew ideas; Developig liks with HEIs for a rage of purposes such as research ad developmet, or targetig highflyer recruits; Staff developmet opportuities that arise from employees metorig studets. Beefits to staff i higher educatio Opportuity for studets to see their subject area i practice; Satisfactio of seeig studets developig ad maturig; Ehacemet of studet skills; Establishmet of liks with a wider rage of employers, with the potetial to brig fresh approaches to HEIs; Usig employer cotacts to esure that their commercial or idustry-related teachig is up-to-date Usig liks to ecourage employers to participate o course validatio paels i the developmet of subject areas, to preset guest lectures, or to participate i semiars; O average, placemet studets gai a advatage of early 4% i their fial year performace (Gomez et al., 2004: 373). Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 18 19

13 Creatio ad tailorig of iovative or more applicable work experieces through collaboratio with past employers of placemet studets; Developig their expertise i assessmet methods by workig with employers who have experiece i assessig employability skills. Harvey et al. (1997) also highlighted further potetial problems, suggestig that a protracted period out of a academic culture may cause difficulties for studets i cotiuig to study after their placemet. They further ote that there is a dager that studets ca be used as cheap labour ad their skills uder-utilised. This, they coclude, ihibits developmet ad is ot good practice. Eraut (2007b) cocluded that oe of the most importat beefits of work placemets is workig alogside others because it allows studets to observe ad liste to others at work, ad to participate i shared activities. This eables studets to lear ew practices ad perspectives, to become aware of differet kids of kowledge ad expertise, ad to gai some sese of tacit kowledge implicit i the work place. Learig which is attaied i a practice settig is more clearly uderstood ad retaied. This mode of learig, which ecompasses much observatio as well as discussio, is fudametally importat for acquirig the tacit kowledge that uderpis routies ad ituitive decisios. 1.5 Potetial Problems of Work Placemet The process of work experiece ad placemet is complex, ivolvig iteractios betwee the studet, the third-level istitutio, ad the employer at a variety of levels. There is a wide rage of placemet provisio, ad differet participats view, prepare for, ad perform their work experiece i a variety of ways. It is clear that work experiece requires a cosiderable iput of resources to ru a placemet scheme properly. All stakeholders, however, may ot have access to the same level of resource or expertise. Cautio must also be take to avoid viewig work placemet as a form of learig where ay experiece is better tha o experiece because a poor work placemet beefits obody. A further potetial problem ivolves the perceptio of placemets. Placemets may be viewed as takig time away from the classroom ad because of their vocatioal associatio may ot be regarded as academically legitimate (Crow, 1997). Work placemets, however, are geerally ejoyable aspects of the educatioal programme for the majority of studets. Nevertheless, it must be ackowledged that durig the periods of practice-based learig some studets ca experiece axiety-provokig situatios. Although axiety may be a positive factor that ehaces performace, too much axiety ca ihibit studet learig. Studet axieties are ofte cetred o fittig ito a ew ukow eviromet, gettig used to ew work colleagues ad supervisors, adaptig to the as yet udefied ew role, ad copig with the feelig of beig costatly observed. Some studets have difficulty i dealig with egative feedback, they may have bee placed with work-based supervisors who criticise them, or who are uapproachable ad usupportive. The performace of such studets may cotiue to declie i those eviromets. These studets may be uable to ask for the assistace they eed ad ofte fear makig mistakes. These difficulties however ca be dealt with i a variety of ways, oce they have bee idetified, for example: Creatig a acceptig eviromet i which learig ca take place; Commuicatig ay problems about the studet s kowledge base, skills, attitudes or behaviours as soo as they are idetified; Documetig feedback ad givig the studet a copy; Sharig cocer with the studet ad the third-level tutor; Establishig measurable objectives for chage that are explicit ad observable; Realisig that there are some studets who eed more time to develop competecy. 1.6 Strategic Iovatio Fud Aims ad Objectives The Strategic Iovatio Fud (SIF) is awarded by the Departmet of Educatio ad Sciece ad is admiistered by the Higher Educatio Authority (HEA). SIF is a competitively drive resource stream to implemet orgaisatioal trasformatio. The fud is multi-aual, origially plaed to amout to E510 millio over the period SIF aims to support iovatio, ad to foster collaboratio betwee istitutios competig for fudig to: Icetivise ad reward iteral restructurig ad to reform efforts; Promote teachig ad learig reforms, icludig ehaced teachig methods, programme restructurig at third ad fourth level, modularisatio ad e-learig; Support quality improvemet iitiatives aimed at excellece; Promote access, trasfer, progressio, ad to icetivise stroger iter-istitutioal collaboratio i the developmet ad delivery of programmes; Provide for improved performace maagemet systems ad to meet staff-traiig ad support requiremets associated with the reform of structures ad the implemetatio of ew processes; Implemet improved maagemet iformatio systems. Through the collaborative ature of the projects, ew strategic alliaces have bee developed ad supported, providig ew impetus for ehaced quality ad effectiveess. The Orgaisatio for Ecoomic Co-operatio ad Developmet (OECD) review of HEIs made a compellig case for reform of third- ad fourth-level educatio i Irelad (OECD, 2004). While the sector is ackowledged as a egie for ecoomic developmet, higher educatio istitutios eed to rise to the challeges of icreasig their relevace, for example, through promotig access ad participatio by those already i the workforce. The SIF is a importat elemet i the ivestmet ad reform of HEIs to eable them to meet challeges preseted by chagig social ad ecoomic realities while buildig o their existig stregths. I this way, the projects fuded through the SIF are helpig the parter istitutios towards realisig their potetial while also improvig the learig experiece for a diverse rage of studets at all levels. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 20 21

14 igher Educatio Istitutio Regioal Developmet Priorities E m p l o y e r Ecoomic Policies 1.7 Roadmap for Employmet Academic Parterships (REAP) Project The rage of potetial partership iteractios with some examples is summarised i the followig graphic: The REAP project is a SIF Cycle 2 collaborative project aimed at developig ad validatig a model ad roadmap for partership ad egagemet betwee HEIs ad employers ad eterprises. This partership approach is see as especially relevat i the cotext of a dyamically chagig ecoomic ad demographic eviromet. The REAP project is a Cork Istitute of Techology-led cosortium comprisig Athloe Istitute of Techology; Dubli Istitute of Techology; Istitute of Techology, Sligo; Istitute of Techology Tallaght; Natioal Uiversity of Irelad, Galway; Uiversity College, Cork; ad Waterford Istitute of Techology. Chagig Demographics E m p l o y e e L e a r e r Eterprise / Academic Awareess Careers Fairs Graduate Recruitmet Part-time courses Ivolvemet Co-op Placemet Compay visits Course Advisors Short research projects Active Participatio Guest Speakers Exter Examier Customised I-house courses Udergraduate projects Strategic Partership Forward plaig ad shared risks Log term mutual commitmet Research ad iovatio collaboratio Sposorship Traiig ad Developmet plaig RPL ad WBL metorig ad support Natioal ad Regioal Developmet Priorities Higher Educatio Istitutio E m p l o y e r Natioal Ecoomic Policies Withi the rage of partership egagemets the REAP work has maily focused o five differet types of iteractio: Partership Cotiuum Cooperative work placemet; Specialist targeted course developmet to meet specific eterprise learig eeds; Professioal postgraduate pathways; Academics/researchers cotributig withi eterprises; Opportuities for professioal employers/employees to cotribute withi the academic eviromet. Tripartite Negotiated Learig Arragemets The fidigs to date show that successful ad sustaiable parterships eed resources, relatioships, ad realistic objectives. The key HEI eablers iclude: The partership cocept is exteded beyod that of the learig partership. By explorig existig examples of good practice throughout the project cosortium ad idetifyig eablers ad barriers, a toolkit will be developed Eterprise / Active to facilitate egagemet across the spectrum of potetial partership activities. The impact Strategic will be twofold: both Academic Ivolvemet Participatio HEIs ad eterprises will be ecouraged to seek out opportuities to egage with each Partership other ad to idetify ay Awareess barriers to egagemet withi their systems ad processes. Through the REAP project it is iteded that eterprises will view HEIs as key service providers ad strategic parters. Forward plaig Co-op Placemet ad shared risks Careers Fairs Guest Speakers Log term mutual Part-time courses Course Advisors commitmet Exter Examier Research ad Graduate Recruitmet Compay visits iovatio collaboratio Clear poit of cotact ad good commuicatio; Flexible ad resposive admiistrative procedures ad processes; Itegratio ad valuig of partership activities at the core of the istitutio. The literature o partership reports barriers i terms of perceived iaccessibility ad iflexibility of the HEI i dealig with eterprise eeds. However, the experiece of successful parterships, reviewed through the project, has provided ample evidece that these barriers ca be overcome. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 22 23

15 REAP Objectives o Work Placemet I reviewig the cotiuum of potetial egagemet activity the REAP project proposal recogised that the udergraduate placemet efforts preset a etry-level partership mechaism that ehaces mutual uderstadig ad lays the groudwork for more cooperatio ad ivolvemet across the learig ad research spectrum. Udergraduate placemets form a importat part of the learig experiece i may programmes; evertheless, the quality of the experiece varies widely ad a rage of approaches is adopted for awardig credits ad assessig learig outcomes. A work pla was agreed ivolvig the collaboratio of the REAP project parters to share existig practice ad to work together to idetify good practice which could the be dissemiated broadly. The REAP cosortium agreed to: Review curret operatig practice; Compile experieces from the employer, studet ad academic perspectives; Draft learig agreemets icludig agreed statemets of expectatios, learig outcomes, assessmet methodology aliged with examiatio structures ad cosistet with the appropriate NQAI descriptors; Publish agreed aliged guidelies for studet, employer, academic ad workplace metors; Trial the agreed guidelies ad structures. The report also cotais a umber of appedices that were developed by members of the REAP workig group from the research coducted. Appedix A presets placemet guidelies for higher educatio istitutios, employers, ad studets for each of the three stages of the placemet activity pre-placemet, durig placemet, ad post-placemet. These guidelies provide a useful checklist for each of the stakeholders i the placemet process. The guidelies i Appedix A arisig from the research fidigs were used to iform the developmet of outlie `placemet packs for the studet ad the employer. The Studet Placemet pack preseted i Appedix B icludes a three-way learig agreemet comprisig placemet learig outcomes ad assessmet strategy, job specificatio, ad cotact details ad sig off. It also icludes a workplace iductio checklist, workplace learig guide, ad a evaluatio of the placemet process from the studet perspective. Appedix C presets the Employer Placemet pack which agai icludes the three way learig agreemet, a workplace iductio checklist, appraisal of the studet, ad a evaluatio of the placemet process from the employer perspective. I Appedix D the issue of the maagemet ad assessmet of learig gaied i the placemet experiece is cosidered. The self-assessmet ad recogitio of the learig by the studet as well as the provisio of relevat ad timely feedback by the academic advisor is cosidered. The use of a o-lie joural is explored. Appedix E presets a overview of the REAP project workig group. 1.8 Structure of the Report The report is divided ito a umber of differet sectios. The first sectio serves as a geeral itroductio ad provides a backgroud to the report. This sectio itroduces the cocept of work placemet, highlightig the liks betwee work placemet ad employability skills. Aspects of learig at work are also explored. Throughout the report, work placemet is examied from the three perspectives of studets, employers, ad higher educatio istitutios. While briefly outliig the aims ad objectives of the Strategic Iovatio Fud, the first sectio focuses i particular o the REAP project. The secod sectio presets the collective fidigs of the REAP workig-group members o the practices of work placemet. This icludes a summary of the iitial desk research coducted by workig group members, as well as a summary of the empirical research coducted with studets, employers, ad higher educatio staff. A umber of primary research methods were used to collect the data. Semiars were orgaised with higher educatio staff i order to capture their views o curret practices of work placemet. The opiios of a umber of employers who provided work placemets were sought through surveys ad etworkig evets. The opiios of studets who had retured to college after completig work placemets were collected through various focus groups i each of the REAP parter third-level istitutios. The practice o placemet was further explored through the completio of detailed case study templates by the project parters. The third sectio presets a brief coclusio to the report. 2.0 Itroductio 24 Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 25

16 2 REAP Objectives o Work Placemet This chapter summarises the work coducted uder the REAP project, illustratig existig practice i work placemet ad gatherig iput ad experieces from a variety of sources. The research ad aalysis uderpis the developmet of the practice guidelies ad recommedatios icluded i this report. Iitially, desk-based research was udertake to examie the level of udergraduate work placemet curretly i educatioal programmes i Irish third-level istitutios. This research focused o o-cliical placemets, where the itegratio of placemet ito the programme is drive by the programme desig team ad ot by regulatory or professioal stadards. The evolutio of practice ad the uderlyig academic employer relatioship varies sigificatly betwee the cliical placemet programmes ad the o-cliical programmes. Buckley ad El Amoud (2010) examied the olie course catalogues of all the Irish HEIs i order to compile a list of udergraduate courses that icluded work placemet. They idetified 411 courses that icluded a work-placemet elemet amog 23 HEIs, with 10,577 studets udertakig placemet i o-cliical programmes o a aual basis ad almost 80% of these studets erolled o level 8 programmes. Their research highlights sigificat variace i the umber of programmes that iclude placemet as well as sigificat variace i the prevalece of placemet i the differet academic disciplies. Placemet duratio was foud to vary from less tha two moths to more tha six moths, with the umber of credits available for the placemet experiece geerally, but ot always, reflectig the duratio of the work. Oly 36% of the Higher Educatio Staff who respoded idicated that all their placemets were paid, with the majority of resposes suggestig that placemets were a mixture of both paid ad upaid. May respodets also oted that, while studets o their placemet programmes were geerally paid i previous years, it has prove a lot more difficult to secure paid placemets i the curret year, ad i some cases, employers would take studets oly if they did ot have to pay them. Further research by Keedy Burke et al. (2010) amog 117 studets i the School of Tourism at the Dubli Istitute of Techology (DIT) explored their perceptios of the Irish tourism idustry, based o their placemet experiece, ad coversely the idustry s perceptio of placemet. The DIT studets were placed i 57 diverse idustry orgaisatios durig their placemets. Niety-oe per cet of studets either agreed or strogly agreed that work placemet was a valuable learig experiece, with 78% agreeig or strogly agreeig that they were satisfied that their learig objectives were achieved. Eighty-four per cet agreed or strogly agreed that they ejoyed their placemet. suggested that the etwork might act as a cosultative or research body with a remit to esure best practice i relatio to placemet. Durig the course of the REAP project, the third-level project parters compiled a wide-ragig summary of employers, studets HEIs views of existig placemet practice, as well as summarisig their recommedatios ad suggestios for improvemets. A umber of differet methodologies were used to collate ad aalyse iformatio, ad the various sources of iformatio are described ad summarised i this chapter. I all cases, the iformatio sought was iteded to iform the parters o the curret situatio of work placemets, to seek out effective practice ad to idetify barriers to ad eablers of the spread of good practice throughout the third-level sector i Irelad. 2.1 Higher Educatio Staff Views o Work Placemet A umber of semiars were arraged by the REAP project team for staff ivolved i placemet ad these semiars were atteded by over 70 represetatives from 14 Irish HEIs. The semiars were recorded ad trascribed ad key isights from work-placemet practitioers i the HEIs were idetified, from the cotributios to these semiars. The eed for a sigle forum for the exchage of views was idetified which led to the establishmet of a atioal olie forum. It was agreed that the research focus should examie the structures ad supports for placemet icludig the plaig phase ad the maagemet of the process. I order to alig with SIF objectives the project team eeded to focus o the structural issues aroud good practice i the placemet process. To achieve this each of the project parters was asked to explore i detail a small umber of specific istaces of placemet withi their particular istitutio. The exploratio was based aroud a detailed template addressig ot just the practical elemets of the placemet but also the motivatio for the iclusio of placemet ito the programme desig, the preparatio, plaig, ad egotiatio phases of the placemet as well as the maagemet of the placemet i practice. A detailed template was draw up by the project team followig cosideratio of the experieces shared through the semiars. These mii case studies cotributed to the uderstadig of curret practice as well as to the developmet of guidelies ad recommedatios for future work-placemet activity. The research also ivolved cosultatio with represetatives from the tourism idustry i Irelad who participate i the placemet programme. The mai fidigs from the research with idustry represetatives highlighted the importace of studets beig prepared for the real busiess world, a geeral eed to improve busiess laguage i terms of writig busiess s, ad the eed for social skills icludig commuicatio, puctuality, ad work dress code. Further cosultatio took place with HEIs offerig work placemet as part of their tourism programmes. The fidigs illustrated cosiderable variatio i the maagemet of placemets amog the differet third-level istitutios represeted. Some HEIs have dedicated placemet officers; others have a dedicated office maaged by admiistrative staff, while i other colleges members of academic staff maage the etire placemet process. Higher educatio represetatives showed a strog level of iterest i becomig part of a higher educatio placemet etwork. It was Source Iitial Views Research Fidigs Developig Themes Report REAP Placemet Strategy Study of Placemet (Desk-based Research) Series of Semiars HEI Staff Placemet Experiece Programme (Pilot) Case Studies Template Natioal Olie Forum Project Team Workshop Recommedatios & Workshops Figure 1: HEI data collectio process Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 26 27

17 Overview of the HEI Fidigs The issues that were raised through the semiars, template resposes, ad fora ca be summarised as follows: Importace of placemet pedagogically; Madatory requiremet versus optioal bous; Variety ad quality of placemets; Alteratives to placemet; Duratio of placemet; Number of credits; Assessmet strategies, e.g., differet grades or else pass/fail liked to learig outcomes ad credits; Difficulty i securig placemet; Sourcig ad securig iteratioal placemets; Sourcig ad securig placemets for iteratioal studets; Paid versus upaid; Quality ad suitability of available placemets; Maagemet of the placemet process; Preparatio of studet ad employer for placemet; Resourcig of the placemet process; IT support to maage the placemet learig outcomes ad competecy acquisitio. Importace of the Placemet All third-level represetatives agreed that the placemet experiece adds sigificat value ad learig withi the framework of a academic programme: I believe that all educatioal istitutios have a resposibility to prepare their studets for the workplace ad a major challege for all educators is how you bridge the gap betwee their academic learig ad the applicatio of that learig i the workplace eviromet. The curret tred for third-level istitutios is to itroduce placemet withi more programmes ad across more disciplies. This aligs well with the employer view that placemet cotributes to the overall employability of the graduate. All idicators poit to the value that course desigers place o iteractio with the professioal workplace i the may disciplies ad o the opportuities that work placemet provides to the studet i terms of their persoal career developmet. Alteratives to Placemet There was cosiderable discussio about the desirability of madatory placemet i course desig. This gave rise to cosideratio of alteratives where a placemet caot be secured ad the equivalece of pedagogical value of alteratives where they are icluded i the curricular developmet process. This is a applied programme ad hads-o practical experiece is essetial i developig skills ad competeces required by the sector. I most cases, alteratives to placemet existed but these teded to have arise ad hoc to meet specific eeds rather tha havig bee plaed or aliged with the course learig objectives. May parters reported a research project optio for those studets for whom placemet could ot be secured. I some cases, this ivolved workig i a structured way withi a established research commuity or cetre i the istitutio, ad i other cases, it ivolved completig a idividual project i a laboratory uder the supervisio of a academic staff member. It might be argued that the former of these is a work placemet withi a research group, which happes to be o campus, where there will be workplace orms that differ from the academic istitutio orms, while the latter ca be see more as a idividual effort that does ot provide a exposure to a workplace. I other cases, modules ad tutorials are developed as a substitute for the placemet semester. This meas that these studets do ot beefit from a opportuity to gai learig outcomes associated with placemets, typically resultig i a lesser learig experiece for them. I oe of the parter istitutios a model had bee developed for a flexible semester that allowed a umber of optios, all with the same top level learig outcomes. These optios iclude work placemet, study abroad, ew busiess iitiative or commuity/volutary work. The structure developed icludes appropriate preparatio ad assessmet for each of the differet optios. Duratio ad Credits The optimum duratio of the placemet ad the academic credits associated with the placemet experiece raised the questio of assessig the learig outcomes associated with learig i the workplace ad assessig the validity of a variety of assessmet methodologies. There is a sigificat variatio i the higher educatio sector i relatio to the duratio of placemets ad the credits awarded for placemet activities. For istace, 13 weeks of placemet ca attract betwee 10 ad 30 credits. I some cases, the placemet experiece is assessed o the basis of pass or fail criteria with o credit applied. I some istitutios, the successful completio of a learig experiece or the completio of a reflective piece, where the studet recogises ad evideces their learig, is cosidered ad the associated credit is awarded without gradig. I other situatios, there is a assessmet process of the experietial learig with a view to awardig grades to the learig achieved. The challege i the assessmet process is the separatio of the learig experiece or cotet of the learig from the settig i which the learig has bee achieved. The cotext of the learig ad the very may differet workplace settigs teds to make a comparative aalysis i the level of achievemet of learig outcomes very difficult. Placemet is a essetial compoet of the course. It allows studets to gai experiece ad to apply theory to practice with a view to future employability. I geeral, higher educatio providers ackowledged that placemets eed to be of sigificat duratio i order to provide reasoable outcomes. This cocurred with the views of employers who strogly edorsed that duratios should be greater tha six moths. Difficulty i Sourcig ad Securig Work Placemets There was much cocer about the difficulties associated with fidig placemets for a growig cohort of studets i more challegig ecoomic times. Staff reported that employers are curretly more uwillig to take studets, eve o a upaid basis, who might be see as additioal headcout durig times of retrechmet. The developmet of a strog partership approach to educatio, where placemet is viewed as a importat part of the overall egagemet cotiuum ad where employers ca beefit from their sigificat role i the educatio process, may lay the groudwork for more ivolvemet by employers. Cocer was expressed that perhaps the criteria for the selectio of placemets, ad the ecessity to esure that the placemet ca offer the learig that the studet expects to attai, might be overlooked as placemets become more difficult to source. The cosideratio of remueratio, if ay, durig studet placemet, revealed a broad spread of practice. There are disciplies i which placemets are geerally upaid, ad those i which placemets are paid, ad those that Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 28 29

18 have bee paid util recetly, due to the ecoomic dowtur, are ow more likely to be upaid. I situatios where placemet is paid there is a variety of remueratio rates from a below miimum wage stiped to the equivalet of a regular salary for the duratio. Paymet raises the questios of whether this is primarily a learig experiece or a earig oe. The expectatio of the employer of the studet s ability ad the resposibilities placed o the studet varied greatly so it might be expected that the paymet would be widely varyig also. We eed to move to a situatio where we have a commual uderstadig of the studet situatio with regard to isurace ad employee employer rights because there were descriptios of 70-hour upaid placemets i oe of the discussios today. Ethically that has to be questioable. Placemets Abroad May programmes offer opportuities for studets i securig placemets abroad ad this is helpful where there is difficulty i placig studets i Irish compaies. The challeges ad cosideratios ivolved fidig compaies willig to accept Irish studets. Oe suggestio ivolved parterig with IDA or Eterprise Irelad to leverage their iteratioal offices to help idetify possible parter orgaisatios. Where studets are placed overseas may of them are with iteratioal compaies that have Irish offices providig local cotact ad partership, facilitatig this developmet. Rather tha spreadig the cotacts over a huge base it might be better to pick a locatio ad zoe i o it ad build a etwork of cotacts ad compaies there. Where there are travel ad subsistece costs associated with takig advatage of a overseas placemet, cocer was expressed that this might propagate social iequities i the educatio system. From the academic istitutio perspective the questio of greater costs ca arise for maagig the iteratioal placemet. From the studet perspective the availability of support etworks o the groud is importat. Studets are happy to go abroad whe there are two or three studets from their istitutio or where they have relatives or cotacts but they re less iclied to go if there s oe of them goig to a place aloe. We may be limited i our scope to secure iteratioal placemets because of laguage restrictios ad perhaps this is somethig that we eed to address i all of our programmes. Additioal difficulties have bee reported i fidig placemets for o-eu studets. I some cases, employers were reluctat to cosider these studets, as oe of the motivatios for employers i takig studets o placemet is that they see this as a importat part of their recruitmet process ad i the case of o-eu studets they believe they may ot be eligible for work i Irelad o completig their course. Difficulty with work permits, poorer commuicatio ability, ad employmet restrictios are cocers reported from employers about the o- EU cohort of studets. This is t goig to go away; each of our istitutios is lookig more ad more towards iteratioal studets, so this is a problem that is goig to get bigger. Maagemet of the Placemet Process Through the REAP project a umber of staff exchages were facilitated to ecourage the sharig of views ad sharig of experieces amog those ivolved i the placemet process at third level. It is worth otig that the practice of maagemet ad plaig of the placemet experiece varies sigificatly withi idividual istitutios ad betwee differet istitutios. I some cases, cetral resources are dedicated to sourcig, plaig, ad maagig the placemet. I other cases, the resources are allocated at course ad departmetal level, with academic staff fidig ad maagig placemets for studets. I our ow uiversity the drive is to icrease placemet i lots of courses, but agai we eed resources, we eed to go to the various Chambers Irelad, Chartered Istitute of Persoel & Developmet (CIPD) ad IBEC evets ad develop the etworks, ad without a budget that starts to get difficult. I cetralised models all those ivolved i placemet operatios ad maagemet are located i a sigle locatio, with the advatage of a sigle placemet budget ad admiistratio efficiecy ad cosistecy of approach. This may also have advatages from the employer perspective because the employer has a clear cotact poit with the cetral placemet resource. There may be drawbacks to this approach as it may lead to dimiished iteractio betwee the placemet ad the academic staff, with the risk of udermiig the academic value of the placemet withi the particular programme. This may also have the effect of lesseig the opportuities for direct iteractio ad for further egagemet betwee academic staff ad the workplaces. I a distributed model the placemet operatio, plaig ad maagemet is situated withi the relevat academic departmet. This allows the placemet experiece to be more tightly itegrated ito the relevat academic departmet, with more direct ivolvemet i the placemet by the faculty staff. The iteractio betwee the placemet staff ad the employer ca have direct beefits that feed back ito the curriculum or lead to additioal opportuities. The potetial for cosistecy ad efficiecies of scale is lost i this model, however, ad it ca also lead to competitio betwee differet programme areas to fid placemets. We have a dedicated resource i the School of Busiess for placemet. Offers are retured to the uiversity ad coordiated by the practice educatio coordiator. A aual database of all ivolved is kept updated. A structure which combies the advatages of the cetralised ad decetralised model ca be developed where a cetral resource allows efficiecies of scale i the operatio of some elemets of placemet admiistratio ad preparatio while keepig the resposibility for the operatio withi academic departmets. The appropriate structure for a particular istitutio will deped o the scale of the placemet activity ad the variety of the disciplies i which placemets are sought. The whole issue of maagemet of placemet differs cosiderably across the colleges: dedicated placemet officers; dedicated liks offices with a purely admiistrative focus; people who have resposibility for placemet as part of their admiistrative work; ad, i most cases, a combiatio of both a dedicated placemet officer ad academic staff. Proper maagemet of the placemet process ad the preparatio of participats for placemet are essetial to the quality ad value of the learig experiece. The preparatio from the studet perspective varies from a series of semiars ad workshops, which assist a studet i securig a placemet through CV preparatio ad Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 30 31

19 iterview techiques, to a plaed learig pathway which itroduces the studet to the laguage ad priorities of the workplace ad acts as a preparatio for the professioal practice i which they might expect to be immersed. Geerally, the studet submits a applicatio ad a CV ad is iterviewed by the employer i order to secure the placemet. Studets are well briefed i class ad also through a iductio day. They receive help i obtaiig their documetatio ad Garda clearace. have a role i the plaig phase of the placemet as they force deeper cosideratio of the stated learig outcomes ad perhaps a restatemet of the learig outcomes ito the uderlyig competeces icludig a cosideratio of how the competecy might be evideced. Summary HEI staff agree that placemet makes a valuable cotributio to the educatioal process these beefits ad the mai cocers raised are summarised i the followig graphic: Some thigs we could do better iclude more research o the idustry ad orgaisatio, ad possibly a site visit to the placemet orgaisatio. I terms of defied learig expectatios, all istaces of placemet that were explored i depth reported clearly defied learig outcomes which the studet could see as a clear outlie of the learig that they are expected to achieve i the process. I some cases, the learig outcomes are broadly stated ad reasoably geeric, addressig commuicatio skills, ability to work i teams, becomig a self-directed learer ad i other cases, the outcomes address the applicatio of the specific theoretical kowledge withi the disciplie. Preparig the employer for the placemet experiece teded to be less formally addressed by the project parter istitutios. I may cases, employers have worked with the higher educatio provider over may years, iformally buildig relatioships to support ad facilitate the placemet process. Idividual relatioships betwee academic istitutios seekig studet placemets i a particular disciplie ad the employer parter teded to be strog, ad these relatioships were frequetly cetred o a etwork of graduates withi the workplace. I some cases, a prepared maual with a statemet of the expectatios of all parties employer, studet, ad higher educatio provider is made available. This was particularly evidet withi the Social Care area where the placemet experiece teds to be more regulated tha withi the Sciece, Busiess, ad Egieerig disciplies. We have a briefig day ad we offer traiig to staff ivolved i the placemet process. Agreed Beefits Ehacig etworkig ad mutual uderstadig betwee HEI ad workplaces Maitaiig curriculum relevace alog with opportuities to apply theoretical kowledge to practice Itegratig employability skills ito curriculum Cocers Raised Need for allocated resources to orgaise ad moitor placemet learig No cosistet framework for alteratives to placemets withi programmes Difficulty i sourcig placemets for growig umber of studets (particularly sourcig & maagig iteratioal placemets) Ofte there is o formal placemet agreemet or baselie cotract betwee the parties ad o formal learig agreemet. Most of the HEIs, however, reported positive log-stadig relatioships with employers. Withi the workplace there is usually a recogised supervisor or metor who is the poit of cotact for the studet ad the higher educatio staff. Visits, s ad telephoe calls are usually the methods used to moitor ad maitai the cotact before ad durig the placemet. I some cases, the workplace supervisor is provided with traiig from the academic parter to explai ad support their supervisor role. From the HEIs perspective the maagemet of the process raises cocers about available resources. Sharig of resources ad expertise is ot commoplace withi the istitutios. I may cases, for example, those resposible for placig Busiess studets ad those resposible for placig Egieerig studets from the same istitutio ito the same eterprise have o formal commuicatio process. Resources allocated to the placemet process were reported to place limitatios o the rage of placemets available to studets. Because of fudig limitatios, supervisors were oly allowed to place studets withi a particular area so that additioal fudig would ot have to be applied for travel expeses. Durig the course of the REAP project, the use of iformatio techology systems to support the work placemet learig ad to assist the studet i compilig their learig portfolio was explored. Iformatio techology systems Figure 2: Summary of higher educatio staff views o work placemet 2.2 Employers Views o Work Placemet The employers view o placemet was developed from a umber of differet sources. A short set of questios was desiged to explore employers views of the beefit of placemet to their orgaisatios, ad the beefits to studets, together with ivestigatig methods through which the placemet process might be improved. The survey was facilitated through Forfás ad available through the IBEC website. I additio, all project parters were asked to explore the views of the employers with whom they have cotact usig the same questio set where appropriate. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 32 33

20 Project parters cotributed a variety of iputs, which were collected through disciplie-specific ivestigatios ad cosultatios as well as through istitute-wide activities. I some cases, short etworkig evets were held to provide employer represetatives with a opportuity to etwork ad to cotribute their views orally. Iput from the Expert Group o Future Skills Needs, icludig a review of recet reports o sectoral skills eeds, illustrated the eterprise view of placemets withi the traiig ad educatio spectrum for particular sectors ad disciplies. A report by Keedy Burke et al. (2010) also provided a valuable isight ito the views of a etwork of employers i the tourism sector. I seekig to represet the employers views of the placemet process, the project team explored the motivatio for employers gettig ivolved i the placemet process. Employer views were sought o the attributes demostrated by studets durig placemet, the beefits to the studets of the placemet process, the issues or cocers they have about the process, ad their recommedatios for improvemets to the process. The views from employers were compiled from resposes to a survey, from short iterviews at etworkig evets ad from olie surveys. Source Iitial Views Research Fidigs Developig Themes Report Expert Group o Future Skill Needs Employer Placemet Survey (supported by Forfás & IBEC) Reap Placemet Strategy Review of Sectoral Skills Report Project parter cosultatios with idustry Academic-Eterprise Networkig Evets Recommedatios & Guidelies From the employer perspective the mai beefits that the studets gaied from the experiece iclude: A opportuity to put their learig ito practice; A chace to develop iterpersoal skills; Ehacig CV ad employability. Employers recommedatios for improvemet: Substatial duratio of the placemet; Commuicatio betwee all parties; Preparatio for placemet; Clarity of expectatios of all parties. Beefits of Placemet The employers supported the view that placemet offers a valuable learig opportuity i a udergraduate programme ad they were very aware of the role that they played i facilitatig that learig. A iput to the project from the Expert Group o Future Skills Needs reported that, while employers are geerally satisfied with the techical competeces demostrated by graduates, commuicatio skills, commercial awareess, the ability to solve problems, ad to apply theory to practice required improvemet. I a submissio by the Forum of Eterprise Employers to the Natioal Strategy for Higher Educatio, employers spoke of the eed for substatial work placemets to help address a perceived deficit i the practical applicatio of theoretical kowledge. It is clear from the employers resposes to the curret research that placemets have the potetial to make a sigificat cotributio to the developmet of these skills: Durig placemet, studets develop a maturig that they do t otherwise get from a straight academic degree course. I Social Care, practice is so vital. Figure. 3 Overview of employers views Placemet should be madatory i all third-level courses. Studets really beefit from hads-o experiece. I summary the motivatio for employers to be ivolved i placemet icluded: A useful recruitmet tool; Corporate resposibility; New skills ad eergy from studets; Developig research liks with the HEI. Employers viewed the followig as the most useful qualities displayed by studets o placemet: Ability to work as part of a team; Willigess to lear; Techical competece i the appropriate area. Placemets are a great cofidece builder for studet cocered. Placemets have bee a very positive experiece for all. Two employers reported their mai motivators: The ability to add to the body of kowledge that studet graduates with. Good for us to brig i ew ideas. Employers also suggested that there should be a icreased emphasis o behavioural competecy gaied through work, icludig verbal commuicatio, iitiative, ad professioalism. Work Placemet i Third-Level Programmes 34 35

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