Changing Student Employer Attitudes


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Workshop given at ASET Annual Conference, Cardiff 2007.
The workshop examines the expectations and attitudes of both students and employers to work placements as part of the undergraduate curriculum.

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Changing Student Employer Attitudes

  1. 1. Changing Student/Employer Attitudes and Requirements at the Placement Interface – An opportunity for discussion Ray Wallace, School of Science & Technology, Nottingham Trent University
  2. 2. Source: Learning through work placement and beyond, Little & Harvey, 2006
  3. 3. Two interesting reports published recently <ul><li>Learning through work placements and beyond, Brenda Little & Lee Harvey, July 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>A degree of concern? UK first degrees in science, technology and mathematics, The Royal Society, October 2006 </li></ul>
  4. 4. The first publication <ul><li>Investigates students’ perceptions of learning from placements </li></ul><ul><li>Explores how values and ethical positions are developed on placement </li></ul><ul><li>Investigates the extent to which students try to transfer and build on such learning in subsequent stages of the taught curriculum </li></ul>
  5. 5. The second publication <ul><li>Describes, details and incisively discusses a whole raft of topics and issues relating to first degrees in Science, Technology & Mathematics in the UK </li></ul><ul><li>Pertinent to the sandwich training arena it examines STM first degrees : skills, knowledge and experience and what STM first degree graduates do </li></ul>
  6. 6. However what appears not to have been examined to any great degree with one or two notable exceptions are: <ul><li>The engagement of students with the placement process in the first place </li></ul><ul><li>The expectations of employers that placement students will be literate, communicative have good subject knowledge etc </li></ul><ul><li>The assumption that, for instance, with science in particular but equally with students of other disciplines such as law, business etc that they will naturally embark upon a subject discipline based placement </li></ul>
  7. 7. In this session I would like to examine these 3 areas, calling upon delegates experiences to try to tease out the critical factors that affect: <ul><li>Student engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Employer expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Choice of placement field </li></ul>
  8. 8. Activities <ul><li>Split into 3 groups to brainstorm/discuss the issues 10 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Come together to prepare a bullet list of the key issues raised 15 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss whether we want to take our pooled findings forward 5 minutes </li></ul>
  9. 9. Points to stimulate discussion – student engagement with the placement process <ul><ul><ul><li>Nottingham Trent University – Some figures from 2004 DLHE data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over 112 graduates returned to graduate roles with their placement companies </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2.4% placement students were employed in non-graduate level jobs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>44.6% of non-placement students were employed in non-graduate level jobs. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Points to stimulate discussion – student engagement with the placement process <ul><ul><ul><li>Huddersfield University – Data from Lisa Ward, the Higher Education Academy & the Higher Education Careers Service Unit, Summer Conference, Manchester 2006 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fewer than 50% of students enrolled on sandwich courses are taking a placement year </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students who do a placement are more likely to: </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gain a managerial, professional or senior official post </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gain an associate professional or technical post </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Get any job </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Points to stimulate discussion – student engagement with the placement process Most Important Factors when deciding which Graduate Employers to Apply to Percentage of finalists looking for graduate jobs in 2005 Base – Face-to-face interviews with 16,113 final year students Source: High Fliers Research Limited 2005 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Location of jobs Starting salary Content of work Quality of training & development programme Using degree subject studied Work-life balance Opportunity for overseas experiences Achieving a professional qualification Chance for further studies
  12. 12. Points to aid discussion – employer expectations
  13. 13. Points to aid discussion – employer expectations <ul><li>SMEs employ more than 80% of graduates </li></ul><ul><li>Charles J Watkinson, Chief Executive Corrosioneering Group (an SME) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Our expectations of graduate applicants” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Has interview skills! Do you always dress like that?!! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intelligent and logical Can understand and give instructions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Literate “I wos not gud at spelin but I got a first in siense” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Articulate How would you describe yourself? “What? Don’t know really”! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledgeable Can you repair a bicycle puncture? What’s a bicycle! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledgeable of their subject Well versed in the basics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Resourceful Able to find information and resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enquiring/Inquisitive Wants the whole picture, asking relevant questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hard working Not waiting for the clock to go around or playing computer games </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Points to aid discussion – employer expectations <ul><li>IMPORTANT SKILLS </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation & enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>Team working </li></ul><ul><li>Oral </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Customer focus </li></ul><ul><li>Problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Managing own learning </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Planning & organisation </li></ul>The Top 10 in 2006 Skills and Attributes sought by employers in graduates <ul><li>DIFFICULT TO FIND SKILLS </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Project management </li></ul><ul><li>Risk taking/enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>Managing own learning </li></ul><ul><li>Second language </li></ul><ul><li>Problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Customer focus </li></ul><ul><li>Report writing </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural sensitivity </li></ul>
  15. 15. Points to aid discussion – choice of placement field <ul><li>‘ What do graduates do? 2007’ </li></ul><ul><li>Of the graduates entering employment, 52% of chemists appear to be doing jobs with tenuous links to chemistry and 66% of biologists seem to find themselves in a similar position with regard to biology </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A degree of concern 2006’ </li></ul><ul><li>The number of graduates classified as science and engineering professionals varies significantly by subject with 35% of engineering & technology and 20% of chemistry graduates classified under this heading in 2003/4 compared with 6% of biology and 7% of physics graduates. </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming that the seven ‘professional’ categories constitute ‘graduate-level’ jobs then 45% of engineering & technology graduates and 38% of chemistry, 37% of mathematics and 35% of computer science graduates, 33% of physics graduates and 20% of biology graduates are employed in graduate-level occupations six months after graduation. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Points to aid discussion – choice of placement field <ul><li> - 18 May 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Students choose work experience over pay in bid to secure top jobs” </li></ul><ul><li>Eight in 10 students believe work experience will help to build a career, with half certain that it will help their quest for a graduate job, new research has found. </li></ul><ul><li>A survey of more than 1,200 students by career website , found that only 22% selected their place of work for the money. Instead, gaining experience to help them get a job after graduation was the most important factor for 76% of respondents. </li></ul><ul><li>Up to a quarter of students had worked for no wage, while 78% had worked for minimum wage or less. </li></ul><ul><li>Additional reasons for taking up work experience included: how good it would look on their CV, a convenient location, getting a 'taster' of a job or sector, and gaining experience to help them get on a course. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Points to aid discussion – choice of placement field Placements - No Placements - Yes Combined data from the Schools of Applied Science, Art & Design, Computing & Engineering and Business (Source Lisa Ward the Higher Education Academy & the Higher Education Careers Service Unit, Summer Conference, Manchester 2006) Graduate Employment Data (DLHE 2004) Huddersfield University
  18. 18. Thank you for your attention today I hope that you have enjoyed the workshop [email_address]