University of Limerick
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A study of students’ experiences of work placement within the further education sector in the West of Ireland

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posted on 2018-01-22, 15:13 authored by Julia Hawkins
This study explores the experiences of students who have completed work placement as part of their further education studies. The research consider the influence of work placement on educational and vocational decision-making. The influence that work placement has on an individual’s personal, social and vocational development is explored and specific skill sets acquired throughout the work placement period are identified. In addition, the research also considered factors that assist Guidance Counsellors prepare students for work placement and assisting them in their career decision making process. According to Jarvis (2010) education and learning can occur in many situations including the practical setting whilst Kidd (2006) suggests the practical placement is a means of exploring occupational options that have been identified. This study employs a qualitative approach to extrapolate narratives on students’ experiences of their work placement through interpretive interviews with six QQI Level 5 students from various disciplines within a further education college in the West of Ireland. The findings demonstrated that work placement is significant in contributing to students’ independent decision making on educational direction and vocational path. Identification of key areas of growth and development included interpersonal skills, communication skills, teamwork and improvements needed in relation to confidence and assertiveness. In addition guidelines are developed to assist Guidance Counsellors in helping and supporting future students on work placement. A number of recommendations are suggested to inform policy, practice and research arising from the findings of this study. Finally, a positive outcome of this study is the implementation of measures within the careers service of the further education college where I am currently part of the team in the provision of advance preparation of students for work placement and de-briefing and reflective practice process on completion of the placement stage of the programme.



  • Master (Research)

First supervisor

Keogh, Siobhan





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