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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, *training, *pedagogy
This phenomenological study examines the employers’ experiences of student work placement in quantity surveying practices. The principal aim of the research is to provide a composite comprehensive description of the work placement educational approach as experienced by of quantity surveying employers by presenting the issues, benefits and drawbacks associated with the approach.
The research design is interpretivist and qualitative in nature. The data was gathered through a series of one pilot and four phenomenological interviews with senior representatives of the quantity surveying profession. The primary concern was to gather rich and deep data which would allow a credible account of the approach to be composed from the employers’ perspective. The design recognises the limitations of the research and acknowledges that the findings are not exhaustive.
The research has established the following main findings:
The participants reported highly positive experiences of employing work placement students and that the approach works well in practice. It emerged, however, that smaller practices experienced some difficulties in securing placement students and that the larger quantity surveying practices and construction companies were better placed to recruit placement students. The participants expected the placement student to be capable of carrying out basic measurement tasks under supervision within a team structure to support the production of a range of tender and cost planning documents. The participants commented favourably about the students’ ability to perform these tasks.
The participants reported that the College, in general, maintained a background presence and allowed the participants a high degree of autonomy in managing the students’ experience. The participants considered their function was to provide the students with good experience and encouraged the students to apply for membership of the professional institutions. They maintained a high degree of control and supervision over the students and were aware of their status as learners.
The participants felt that the work placement approach provided valuable opportunities to recruit short term staff and vet them as potential full-time employees. They reported few problems which would not be encountered in employing young staff in any case. In general they consider work placement graduates to be more employable than their full time equivalents.
The principle conclusion is that there is a strong argument for adopting and implementing a work placement approach in quantity surveying education courses.
Cunningham, T (2010) The Experiences of Employers of Work Placement: A Quantity Surveying Perspective. A thesis submitted to the Dublin Institute of Technology in part fulfilment of the requirements for award on Masters (M.A.) in Third Level Learning and Teaching.