Student placement ‐ structure, skills and e-support
The concept of a student spending part of their undergraduate course in industry or commerce is not new. It is remarkable, however, to note how little literature exists on how best to manage, evaluate and support such a period of placement. At the University of Ulster approximately
1,400 students per year undertake paid placement, generally spending one year in a range of settings throughout Ireland, Great Britain or further afield. Within the Faculty of Informatics each of the nine degree programmes incorporates a compulsory placement year, as does the largest of the
Higher National Diploma courses. This paper discusses why work experience should be incorporated within undergraduate courses, how placement is managed within Informatics, reports on how students have perceived the placement experience and outlines how the entire process will soon be supported
by a Web portal for use by students, staff and employers alike.