Warsaw Seminar Els Van Der Werf

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Warsaw Seminar Els Van Der Werf

  1. 1. Employability and work placements Preparing students for the labour market
  2. 2. <ul><li>Els van der Werf </li></ul><ul><li>Hanzehogeschool Groningen/Hanze University Groningen, </li></ul><ul><li>University of Applied Sciences </li></ul><ul><li>International Relations Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Member of the Dutch team of Bologna Experts </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  3. 3. <ul><li>Employability of undergraduates (Bachelors): </li></ul><ul><li>a key element of the Bologna Process </li></ul><ul><li>“ The degree awarded after the first cycle shall also be </li></ul><ul><li>relevant to the European labour market as an appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>level of qualification.” </li></ul><ul><li>For universities which traditionally offered ‘undivided’ </li></ul><ul><li>Master degrees: a dilemma </li></ul><ul><li>For Universities of Applied Sciences: core business </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  4. 4. <ul><li>Dutch higher education </li></ul><ul><li>Characterized by a binary system </li></ul><ul><li>Co-existence of 14 research universities </li></ul><ul><li>(213,000 students) </li></ul><ul><li>3-year Bachelor programmes </li></ul><ul><li>and 41 universities of applied sciences </li></ul><ul><li>(374,000 students) </li></ul><ul><li>4-year Bachelor programmes </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  5. 5. <ul><li>Universities of Applied Sciences </li></ul><ul><li>professional profile of Bachelor programmes </li></ul><ul><li>= clearly related to particular jobs/careers </li></ul><ul><li>curriculum focuses on professional development </li></ul><ul><li>main emphasis on undergraduate education </li></ul><ul><li>growing number of Master programmes </li></ul><ul><li>emphasis on applied research </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  6. 6. <ul><li>Professional focus in Bachelor programmes </li></ul><ul><li>emphasis on practical application of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>throughout the curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>(project work; problem-based learning) </li></ul><ul><li>participation in applied research </li></ul><ul><li>key element: mandatory work placement of </li></ul><ul><li>at least 6 months (30 ECTS credits) </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  7. 7. <ul><li>Research universities </li></ul><ul><li>Bachelor programmes are Master oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Bachelor is not seen as exit qualification </li></ul><ul><li>professional profile is often not explicit </li></ul><ul><li>(e.g. humanities) </li></ul><ul><li>there are also programmes which are highly </li></ul><ul><li>profession-oriented (e.g. dentistry, medical studies) </li></ul><ul><li>increasing interest among students to do a work placement (e.g. humanities) </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  8. 8. <ul><li>Mandatory work placements: </li></ul><ul><li>an organisational challenge! </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Hanze University Groningen, UAS </li></ul><ul><li>24,000 students – every year roughly 5,000 students on work placement </li></ul><ul><li>most of them in the Netherlands </li></ul><ul><li>ca. 900 abroad </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of </li></ul><ul><li>finding companies/organisations </li></ul><ul><li>matching students with placements </li></ul><ul><li>preparation and supervison of students </li></ul><ul><li>quality assurance (placement assignment, assessment) </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  9. 9. <ul><li>Different types of placements </li></ul><ul><li>orientation placement – allows students to get a taste of the professional environment in which they will be working </li></ul><ul><ul><li>short (weeks, rather than months) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>work shadowing, small assignments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>profile placement – train the competences related to the professional field </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a few months, usually a semester </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>semi-independent work, under supervision </li></ul></ul><ul><li>final year placement – like profile placement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a semester to one academic year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>high degree of independece </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>complex assignment, resulting in thesis </li></ul></ul>Employability and work placements 9
  10. 10. <ul><li>Involvement of companies/organisations </li></ul><ul><li>part of a certain culture with regard to the collaboration of HE and the world of work </li></ul><ul><li>HE and employers have a mutual interest </li></ul><ul><li>HE and employers are prepared to invest </li></ul><ul><li>joint placement code of biggest employers’ organisation (VNO/NCW), SME body (MKB NL), and Association of Universities of Applied Sciences: agreement on cooperation through work placements as part of knowledge circulation </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  11. 11. <ul><li>Finding work placements </li></ul><ul><li>HEs have to invest in this part of the curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>organising and supervising work placements costs as much as teaching </li></ul><ul><li>one or more placement coordinators per degree programme </li></ul><ul><li>various organisational models </li></ul><ul><ul><li>students find their own placement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>placement coordinators actively recruit and assign students to a placement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>role of commercial agencies </li></ul></ul>Employability and work placements
  12. 12. <ul><li>Quality assurance and preparation </li></ul><ul><li>is the company/organisation suitable (not too small)? </li></ul><ul><li>has an appropriate supervisor been assigned by the company/organisation? </li></ul><ul><li>is it clear what the student is expected to do: set of tasks, assignment, etc.? </li></ul><ul><li>no companies managed by immediate family member </li></ul><ul><li>tripartite placement contract has to be signed </li></ul><ul><li>university has collective third-party liability insurance for all students on placement </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  13. 13. <ul><li>Requirements on student before going </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>formally completed year 1 </li></ul><ul><li>completed a minimum of 40 ECTS credits of year 2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>of which all foreign language components </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Development module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>38 other credits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>formal approval of placement by placement coordinator </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  14. 14. <ul><li>Preparing and supervising the student </li></ul><ul><li>physical absence of student does not mean less responsibility for learning process! </li></ul><ul><li>make clear what you expect of the student and what the student can expect from you (institution/supervisor) </li></ul><ul><li>supervision by institution should be more than a formality </li></ul><ul><li>supervision includes regular contact (telephone, email, skype, etc.) and preferably a visit to the student and company supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>average no. of hours per student for supervision: 15 hrs. </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  15. 15. <ul><li>Monitoring and assessing the work placement </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>at the end of the first month </li></ul><ul><ul><li>initial placement report from student + </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>first month placement evaluation by company supervisor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>at the end of three months </li></ul><ul><ul><li>intermediate placement report from student </li></ul></ul><ul><li>at the end of the placement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>final placement evaluation by company supervisor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>within 1 month of completion of placement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>final placement report </li></ul></ul>Employability and work placements
  16. 16. <ul><li>Employability of UAS Bachelors </li></ul><ul><li>Based on research by Netherlands Ass. of UAS over 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Target group: graduates 2006/2007 - 18 months after graduation </li></ul><ul><li>85% have a job at the ‘right’ level (Bachelor) </li></ul><ul><li>83% have a job in the professional field for which they were </li></ul><ul><li>trained </li></ul><ul><li>79% indicate that the contents of the study programme </li></ul><ul><li>were in line with the current work </li></ul><ul><li>79% indicate they would choose the same degree programme </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  17. 17. <ul><li>Employability of UAS Bachelors </li></ul><ul><li>Based on research by Netherlands Ass. of UAS over 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Target group: graduates 2006/2007 - 18 months after graduation </li></ul><ul><li>Unemployed 3,5% </li></ul><ul><li>Gross income per hour € 14,70 </li></ul><ul><li>Gross income per month € 2180 </li></ul><ul><li>Tenure 66% </li></ul><ul><li>Good career opportunities 48% </li></ul>Employability and work placements 17
  18. 18. <ul><li>Tentative conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Programmes that give a good basis for entering the labour market </li></ul><ul><li>Have a strong professional orientation </li></ul><ul><li>- work placements contribute to general development of </li></ul><ul><li> professional expertise, but do not add new competences </li></ul><ul><li>- good basis for labour market entry esp. in mass </li></ul><ul><li> specialist positions </li></ul><ul><li>Have a strong familiarity with employers </li></ul><ul><li>- is achieved through collaboration in the field of work </li></ul><ul><li> placements </li></ul><ul><li>- has no effect on competence level of student </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  19. 19. <ul><li>Tentative conclusions (cont.) </li></ul><ul><li>Are highly demanding </li></ul><ul><li>- positive effect on development of competences </li></ul><ul><li>- not necessarily leads to strong position on labour market </li></ul><ul><li>Have strong academic prestige </li></ul><ul><li>- produce better graduates with stronger competences </li></ul><ul><li>- also have a signal function for employers (see 2) </li></ul><ul><li>- not obtainable for large numbers of students </li></ul><ul><li>See also: Chapter 1 of the “Reflex” report </li></ul>Employability and work placements
  20. 20. <ul><li>Dicussion questions </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive collaboration between higher education and the world of work is a prerequisite for the realisation of work placements. Are European higher education institutions equipped to maintain such contacts? </li></ul><ul><li>In the case of integrated work placements, the higher education institution transfers part of the assessment of the student’s progress to the receiving company/organisation. Under what conditions is this acceptable? </li></ul><ul><li>There is a danger that students on work placement are used as cheap labour; there is unfair competition with those who are seeking employment. How can this be avoided? </li></ul><ul><li>Should higher education institutions focus on the transfer of knowledge and leave the preparation for the world of work to the (first) employers? </li></ul>Employability and work placements

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