• "Moving closer" maximising benefits to university courses, students and employers through undergraduate civil enginering placements.

      Oltean-Dumbrava, Crina; Galloway, K. (2012-07)
      This project built on research from university and employer perspectives exploring relationships between expectations of employers, professional bodies, students and universities on what constitutes a good work placement. Qualitative information on good practice was gathered in order to identify areas for improving placement practice and to illuminate employer engagement processes. Impact and benefits of different approaches to placements and curricula and/or staff Continuing Professional Development (CPD) implications were identified, together with recommendations on how improvements in understanding are shared and disseminated among employer groups and universities. Findings included that, although there were already guidelines on placement practice from a number of bodies, good practice identified at a wide range of points seemed more the result of academic staff drawing on their own experience, formed in the light of good knowledge of professional institution requirements, rather than use of guidelines. Employers mentioned professional institution requirements almost as a matter of course. That guidelines are not used as intended by those that produce them may be a general tendency, but this project¿s guidelines specifically reflect the organised voice of employers thanks to the involvement of their senior groupings, Sector Skills Councils and similar, in addition to individual employers. This project¿s guidelines are also more up to date than others identified, including particular issues affecting provision of placements that may face universities over the next few years. Students seem to recognise the benefits of placements more in retrospect than in advance. Some universities seem more flexible than others, adapting provision of placements as economic and other conditions have changed and to meet the needs of employers and placements. As one employer put it, ¿employers gravitate towards universities that make it easier¿. Employers also want to see academic credit awarded for placement learning and understandable processes with which they can help in support of this. The guidelines will be made available through a number of channels.