3.1. Type of Work Placement


Compulsory or Optional

This is key to the structure and assessment of the work placement.

Compulsory work placement can count towards degree classification and a number of models exist, i.e. using 10% of the final mark, a module at Level 2 and a module at level 3.  Alternatively compulsory placement can be a requirement of the degree programme, where a 'pass' is required to meet the programme requirements. (see assessment).

Optional work placement can be either an optional/elective module in which case the mark counts towards degree classification, or optional with regard to the degree programme in which case it does not count in either the final degree classification calculation or as a requirement for the degree programme.

Length

The length of the work placement will affect the quality of the student achievement of the learning outcomes.  Most employers consider a minimum of 3 months (12 weeks) is needed for a student to settle into a work placement, therefore shorter placements need to take this into account when considering the intended learning outcomes.  When specifying the length of placement it is recommended to include a minimum number of hours per week i.e. 35 hours for full-time employment. 

The length of time required for a Project based placement depends on the nature of the project and its learning outcomes.  Some projects also suit a part time placement (1 or 2 days a week) enabling the student to take the placement alongside their taught modules during a semester.

Some graduate employers seek to employ graduates with a minimum of a year's work placement.

Location

All students must be informed of the procedures for either working within the UK or outside theĀ UK and sign appropriate declaration form for within the UK or outside the UK which must be submitted to the School before they undertake their placement.

Within the UK and most of Europe, it should be possible to visit the student whilst on placement. (see On-Placement - visits).  For students further afield, the School needs to decide if it is happy for students to take such placements and if so how it can carry out the same assessment of the placement provider, the placement job and the Health and Safety aspects.  It may be possible to act through personal academic contacts, HE institutions or professional body contacts.  For students who decide to work abroad additional information should be provided such as overseas information.

Work related and/or project based

Work related placements involve the student carrying out 'a job of work' whilst project based placement involve students carrying out a specific project in the workplace.  In some cases students may do both in a work placement.

Procedures for both types of placement are essentially the same, with the project being approved similarly to the job description. (see placement approval)

Where both a job and a project are carried out, both a job description and project proposal form should be submitted for approval.