Workplacements for Maths and Stats undergraduates - Full Final report
This project evaluated the impact of different placement formats on the development of second year mathematics students’ employability skills and reviewed assessment processes in preparation for the introduction of a university-wide accredited placement scheme. Questionnaires and interviews captured students’ attitudes and experience of the workplace and understanding and perception of their employability skills pre- and post-placement. Questionnaires and interviews also explored employers’ expectations and perception of student employability skills.
Results showed students see the value of placements but lack understanding of employability skills. Year-long placements were considered the most beneficial format for skills development and showed increased motivation and understanding of the relevance of studies to the workplace. One-day site visits and work shadowing were shown to influence career choice, appealed to students concerned about workload and engaged those who did not want placements. All formats were perceived as valuable when combined with pre-placement support, opportunities for self-reflection and skills awareness.
Problems with variability and lack of resources to manage shorter placements, combined with evidence of the benefits of one-year placements, led to a recommendation that students be prepared early in Year One to consider one-year placements post-Year Two with assessment and accreditation based on a diary, assignment and presentation.