3.9. Work placement preparation of Students

Most students view work placement as the activities they carry out during the placement and not the learning they acquire from the activities. In some cases the skills are directly assessed, however students should be encouraged to reflect on the learning gained from their work placement.

A programme of placement preparation should start well in advance of the students taking up placement. This would normally be the start of the academic year before the students go on placement i.e. September for full time placement starting the following summer. The programme should emphasise the learning outcomes from the placement i.e. what the student is expected to achieve through doing the placement and explain how the student will demonstrate their achievement of these learning outcomes i.e. through assessment.

The key issues to cover in a placement preparation programme are:

  • The value of work placement to the student - employability, networking, career knowledge, skill development, address specific needs (i.e. disability or niche employment)
  • How students source placements - opportunities, websites etc (see sourcing work placements)
  • Employability talks
  • Cv and Covering letter preparation
  • Interview techniques, and sourcing help for aptitude and psychometric testing
  • Health and Safety, ethics, confidentiality and IPR (especially for research, project based placements)
  • Links to other awards such as QESIS and City and Guilds Licentiateship

The Careers, Skills and Employability can provide training sessions for some of these and workshops for Queen's awards (see Work placement approval procedures)

The preference is for the placement preparation programme to be a timetabled activity. Potential placement employers can be invited in to speak to students and students in the year below should also be encouraged to attend if possible.

Students should be provided with information covering all aspects of the placement. This can be in the form of a handbook (see short placement module handbook and year placement handbook) made available in paper or electronic (via Queen's online) format.

It is recommended that information is made available to students in electron form, including all forms, information on placements available and handbooks.

For project based placements similar preparation is necessary although projects may be allocated by the School.