There is strong support for ensuring all university students have an option to undertake relevant work placement. Work-placements enable students to engage with enterprise and develop experiential learning while linking their academic study and theory to real industrial practice. Such placements, or internships, offer students an opportunity to build their self-confidence while refining their transversal skills such as creativity, innovation, communication, team-working and problem solving. Furthermore, placements broaden students’ knowledge base and improve their employability upon graduation.
While student cohorts benefit from engaging with enterprise the enterprise also benefits, such as from the energy, new perspectives and ideas interns can bring to the workplace. Multiple models (such as professional apprentices and Earn and Learn models) highlight the importance of this symbiotic relationship. The need to support and expand work placement opportunities to benefit all graduates is also a key element of government policy. Supporting this ambition and reflecting changing student profiles, employer expectations and the nature of work, there is a need to reimagine the traditional understanding of work-placements to safeguard talent pipelines and increase graduate employability.
A concise literature review of existing work placement models is presented. This is followed by a description of the approach developed by the Enterprise Academy within Technological University Dublin to help students achieve learning outcomes typically associated with work-placements in a new, innovative and sustainable way. The approach described was successfully piloted for 2 student cohorts during the Covid pandemic. It highlights the value of redefining traditional placements for students, enterprise and higher education providers.
Delaney, K. D., Cussen, N., & Ryan, D. (2023). Lessons From Redefining Traditional Work Placements For University Students In TU Dublin. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/QMRH-AS02
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