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Prof Andy Phippen With data from Sophie Carbonell.

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1 Prof Andy Phippen With data from Sophie Carbonell

2 About Me Professor of Social Responsibility in IT Associate Head (External Relations), Plymouth Business School Academic Accreditation Committee for the BCS Experience in both tech and management disciplines Have been involved with HE/Industry liaison for 20 years Research Student opportunities Curriculum development Policy making and lobbying

3 What is the point in us? The role of placements/internships in addressing some of the tensions The impact on the student Is there anything else? Drawing from My own experiences Data from my own students Data collected by Sophie for her dissertation Agenda for today


5 Make A-Levels much harder so fewer people go. That will drive up the value of the degree and the A-level. Fewer university places will bring down tuition fees. Shop assistants will only need A-Levels instead of a degree in Harry Potter Studies Comment from a reader...


7 "The object of universities is not to make skilful lawyers, physicians or engineers. It is to make capable and cultivated human beings.” Adam Smith A liberal education helps inspire in us "a love of our neighbour, a desire for clearing human confusion and for diminishing human misery... The most noble aspiration to leave the world better and happier than we found it". Matthew Arnold Perspective in the 1800s

8 In the present day for some “There are many reasons for going to university, including – naturally – a love of the subject to be studied, and the opportunity to experience a different way of life. Higher education is much more than a production line for work-ready graduates. “ Lord Baker of Dorking in Foreword for Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D., and Lewin, J. (2011)

9 UK Government 2010 “It is like we have one opportunity at the age of 18 to go to university – the kind of Club Med application. People can have other opportunities.”

10 “Students do not need to rack up this debt. Amazingly, there was a load of this hard up students, behaving disgustingly, sex in public place, walking around almost naked and totally no morals. We all know that the 1st year at Uni is spent partying and doing very little studying. So cut the course by 1 year, saving £9000 in fees and loads off the bar bill.” Opinion seemingly shared with a Daily Mail reader



13 “University should be seen as a stepping stone to get you to where you want to be.” “I wanted to build my knowledge on a subject which would benefit my future career, enabling myself to aim towards a certain path. As Moreau and Leathwood (2006) state, there is a greater emphasis for an individual’s own ‘employability’, using the university and various employers as stepping stones in the pursuit of their lifelong learning”


15 “Employers expect graduates to demonstrate a range of skills and attributes that include team-working, communication, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and often managerial abilities or potential. Employers are frustrated that higher education courses do not meet their needs.” Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D., and Lewin, J. (2011)

16 Is there an issue to address at all?

17 I came to University to learn how to program and I leave knowing how to use the Harvard Referencing System (just what every employer wants).... when I look at the course title “Computing for Business Applications” I see a vocational course.


19 A happy medium? Let academics do what they do best And let employers help make it applicable to the “real world” And let students benefit from the best of both worlds Is this really the case?

20 Placement should be compulsory for all - its life changing. One of the best decisions I made at university, the experience was invaluable.

21 I feel that a degree is not enough anymore, as most people have them. A placement year experience gives me a higher competitive advantage to those who have not done work experience.

22 It has shown me exactly what I DON'T want to do. Which is both a positive and negative experience.

23 My placement completely changed my perception of working and studying. Without it I would have probably finished my degree with a low 2.2 but now I have a strong work ethic and am on target for a first. I cannot recommend doing a placement enough, I think it should be compulsory for business students.

24 My aspirations were originally orientated around my own self development, however with an increased social and moral consciousness after my placement year I felt more inclined to aspire to assist in the development and resolving of broader external issues concerning society.


26 I do not feel that I had sufficient contact with the university during my time as only had one visit

27 I found the work given to me by the University to be very unhelpful and completely irrelevant. I also found that my tutor was basically absent and unwilling to help, if I had any serious problems with my placement I do not feel I would know where to turn. I think it would be better to have more regular contact between tutors and students, and less formal arbritrary forms which I felt did little to show progression.

28 Issues arising such as How do we assess the placement? Should we assess the placement? Why isn’t there more tutor involvement in the placement experience In some cases administration staff manage the whole placement process Is there an academic disconnect with the placement process? Are they undersold once students embark on their courses? E.g. PBS this year 1000 placement opportunities for 300 students

29 The value of placements The placement is not just “work experience for students” It’s a bridge between academia and industry Its an opportunity to: Understand the leading edge Understand student destinations Better support our students in their career aspirations Align curriculum with need (and offering better “product”) Do research

30 But… Is institutional strategy hampering the willingness of academics to engage with employabilty/non-research based activities? Are we experiencing “institutional split personality disorder”? And failing to exploit the potential of placements beyond student employability…

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