ASET: Integrating Work and Learning

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					                                    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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