Programme design: before and after placements
5.10 Programmes should be designed to ensure that students taking up placements are fully equipped to achieve the designated learning outcomes. This may be accomplished through a combination of the following:
- Subject-specific module content relevant to the knowledge and expertise required in the placement setting.
- Formative or summative assessments relevant to future periods of placement learning and which can generate valuable feedback for students.
- Embedded skills training within modules. Where relevant academic and professional literacies are embedded into curricula in the period leading up to the placement, these should be made explicit and their relevance to the forthcoming placement emphasised.
- Presentations from students recently returned from placement.
- Visiting lectures from placement providers.
- Designated skills development modules. Successful skills development modules are characterised by explicit relevance to the discipline, workplace and employers.
- Personal tutors providing holistic support on expectations, preparedness and planning; students should be accustomed to structured reflection and professional development planning.
5.11 Returning to the University and academic study after a substantial placement can present its own challenges to students accustomed to full-time employment. Schools should seek to employ strategies that harness and maintain the enthusiasm, expertise and maturity of returning students while helping them re-orient to the demands of academic study. These may include utilising returning students as mentors to those about to undertake their own placements, presentation sessions, specific exploration of individual students’ experiences of transition back into study either within modules or with the support of personal tutors.
Returning to University
Returning to university was difficult. Adjusting to living on a student budget was only one of many difficulties. By the end of my placement my opinion was not only respected but often, especially with regard to the essay I was researching for my project, actively sought after. I was also trusted with responsibility and to organise my work myself. Returning to university felt like a backwards step as all that respect, trust and independence was effectively taken away. However after 2 or 3 months I had settled back in and now have the motivation to make my final year count because I know what I am working for…
I think a lot of returning students were resentful of being treated like students straight out of second year and being constantly checked up on. A good example of this is with dissertations. I have to provide work to my tutor each week over a period of 6 weeks to prove that I am working on it despite having already proved last year that I could independently and competently complete a 6 month research project to the standard required by a large pharmaceutical company.
“A Student Perspective of the Industrial Placement Year”,
University of Leeds/GlaxoSmithKline
 “A Student Perspective of the Industrial Placement Year.” Higher Education Academy. http://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/ftp/events/workpl181207/casestudy.pdf Accessed December 2011