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Sandwich placements: negating the socio-economic effect on graduate prospects

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The lower rates of undergraduate attainment and related professional employment of students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds has been well documented. This study combines a large-scale analysis of graduate employment outcomes with qualitative data from recent widening participation (WP) graduates, focusing specifically on the impact of a full 'sandwich' year within a coursei. We present a statistical analysis of the Higher Education Statistics Agency's (HESA) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey covering the three academic years from 2011/12 to 2013/14, analysing Nottingham Trent University's (NTU) own graduate data as well as all UK university mission groups. We supplement these with outcomes from semi-structured interviews with NTU graduates, held some 18 months after graduation, to gauge a retrospective view of the value of work placements. Our findings demonstrate that participation in year-long sandwich placements can negate the known socio-economic effects on employability prospects. These findings are discussed in terms of potential institutional policy direction. Providing more workplace opportunities to widening participation students is likely to contribute to upward social mobility.
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Keywords: EMPLOYABILITY; GRADUATE PROSPECTS; INTERNSHIP; LEARNING OUTCOME; PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYMENT; SANDWICH PLACEMENT; SOCIAL MOBILITY; SOCIO-ECONOMIC; STUDENT SUCCESS; WIDENING PARTICIPATION; WORK PLACEMENT; WORKPLACE OPPORTUNITIES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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