Our research study into digital literacies for student employability, focusing on WRPL and the University’s placement schemes, revealed that many students are as yet unaware of the full range of opportunities on offer, and that some work remains to be done in terms of establishing and embedding placements within the curriculum, particularly where monitoring and assessment are concerned.
It’s great to see real initiative and progress on this front, both at the local level and in terms of central support. The Careers, Placement and Experience Centre (CPEC) here at Reading have launched a new online ‘Staff Guide to Managing Placements’ written for all University staff involved in managing student placement options, internships, work placement programmes and volunteering schemes in and outside of the curriculum.
The guide details the University’s general requirements and operational processes involved in managing placements, alongside the details of key people within the University who can provide support. The guide also refers to national guidance on managing student placements, in accordance with the Quality Assurance Agency and the University Code of Practice on Placement Learning and includes templates and other downloadable materials for staff to use. The guide is open to Reading staff only at http://www.reading.ac.uk/closed/managing-placements/mp-about-this-guide.aspx.
The Department of English Literature have created a dedicated webspace to cover placement learning with their students. A new section on ‘Academic Placements’ on the departmental website covers all the key questions and concerns from a student perspective:
- What is an academic placement?
- How does the placement system work?
- How do students and staff benefit from academic placements?
- How is an academic placement assessed?
- What should a student consider when thinking about a placement?
- What type of academic placement might be undertaken?
- What support is on offer to placement students?
- What do students have to say?
- What has our department been doing to lead the way in academic placement learning?
Cindy Becker, the department’s Placement Tutor explains:
‘In the Department of English Literature we have been working hard, as have so many of our colleagues across the university, to make the most of the intellectual, personal and career advantages that placement learning can offer our students. We have devised a system of academic placements which is open to all undergraduates studying in the department.’
‘In recent years we have seen a continuing appetite in our students for “real world experience” and we believe that our academic placements offer this in the best sense possible by giving placement providers a tangible benefit from the activities of our students and by offering our undergraduate the chance of high quality, prestigious placements.’