SPORTS, MEDICAL AND MATERIALS GROUP Department of Mechanical Engineering ASET: Integrating Work and Learning Integrating Work and Learning: 6th – 8th September 2005, University of York, The Venue: The University of York shares the same architect and quantity surveyor as the University of Bath and is built around a large lake in the grounds of what was originally a 17th century manor much rebuilt in the 19th century. The concept of the lake and water must have struck the architect as a wonderful feature but he did not live to see the damage done by the wild fowl that inhabit the lake – you continually need to watch where you walk. The accommodation was appalling and the delegates to the conference were not impressed with the cracked sinks and shower floors. However, the food surpassed that of Bath and the conference dinner was held in a Greek restaurant in the City, which was interesting and different for those of us of a more conservative nature. The Conference: This year’s conference offered fewer workshops; eight a day, from which it was possible to choose four, with many of the sessions being repeated over the three days. Some of those attended by your delegate are as follows: Investing in technology to Manage Placements, Ann Doris, Queen’s University, Belfast. The University has used a placement student over three years to develop its own software to support all aspects of placements, including an electronic notice board for employers to advertise. As part of their degrees, students must make 25 applications for placements before they are permitted to continue on the course – placements are compulsory. The University intends to continue developing the programme with the use of a further placement student in the coming year. Two Leo-Net seminars, Edith Doppelhofer, from Austria - who had her passport and identity card stolen from her room on the first night, much to the embarrassment of the British delegation attending the conference. Edith highlighted the ever-growing need to organise innovative work placements for students in leading edge companies in Europe which will become increasingly necessary under the new integrated programme structure for ERASMUS placements. Reflective learning through journals/log books – a business school’s approach, Nicola Bullivant, Aston University. We are all familiar with logbooks because of the requirements of the professional bodies. This presentation outlined the approach taken by Aston which runs alongside the professional log, a more reflective log based around personal development and the mechanisms used to support students. Investing in Students, Investing in the Workforce¸ Julie Wilson, National Council for Workforce Education http://www.ncwe.org/ This organisation is working to see how employability can be embedded in all aspects of all degrees, including Personal Development Programmes. The concept was very new and updates of the scheme will appear on their website and be circulated to ASET members. NCWE is asking Universities to nominate their “best” employer – see attached e-mail. SPORTS, MEDICAL AND MATERIALS GROUP Department of Mechanical Engineering Work Placements – a legal perspective, a presentation by the Eversheds and the most well attended presentation. The message is clear, we should all be proactive, in the current climate, there is no such thing as an accident, the injured party seeks to find someone to blame. Universities do have a duty of care and we should do all possible to limit any liability. In their opinion, all placements must have a visit. If a visit cannot be undertaken prior to a new placement, carry out a risk assessment. Liabilities cannot be delegated and common law says we have a responsibility which extends to the workplace. The workplace can be anywhere, e.g., accident in a car, on business, if it relates to work involved with placements. It is most important, all evidence of duty of care is kept, just in case. For example, all communications with the employers and the student. Overseas, is even more of a nightmare, again collate all evidence relating to show that all attempts to ensure a safe work environment have been made. Try to keep in regular contact with the students. This was a helpful presentation but again, as with all these discussions, the real purpose of placements is lost in the fear of the legal obligations. The contract (IAN FRITH IANF@city-and-guilds.co.uk) from the City and Guilds would be more than happy to give a presentation to the Placement Forum on the benefits of promoting their certificate. The real benefit of attending these conferences is to meet other people who share similar experiences in the workplace and most universities do not have the benefit of a Placement Tutors Forum – a concept that impressed most. I am grateful to the University for being permitted to attend this conference. Angela Harrington 11th October 2005 Encl. Work placements – a legal perspective, handout. National Council for Workforce Education e-mail.
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