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What’s in it for me? Making the case for paid student placements in computer science.

Smith, Sally; Smith, Colin F


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Prof Sally Smith
Head of Graduate Apprenticeships and Skills Development and Professor


Recognising the need for skilled computer science graduates, the university funding body in Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is supporting a Scotland-wide student placement project, e-Placement Scotland, to create 750 new paid student placements across Scotland. Uniquely the project is employer-led, with an infrastructure designed to maximise applications for roles from students and minimise employer recruitment overheads. The project team is based at Edinburgh Napier University working with ScotlandIS, the trade body for computing in Scotland. Making a case for the benefits to students from undertaking a placement is the easy part. Making a case to employers to increase the number of paid placements available to students will ensure sustainability of placements for students in the years ahead. Utilising an action research approach, the project team are conducting a parallel study to analyse the effects of its actions and inform its on-going work. Through employer demand, a wide range of placement models have emerged, including the traditional one year placement, shorter placements and, increasingly, part-time placements undertaken alongside university study. The project found overall that the predominant model is the three month summer placement. The study shows that students in the penultimate year of an undergraduate CS course are the most successful in their applications. The paper highlights that a region-wide approach is beneficial, but in the absence of a regional placement hub the paper analyses the data in terms of generating a message for employers, with a view to answering their question “What’s in it for me?”

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name STEM 2014
Start Date Jul 12, 2014
End Date Jul 15, 2014
Publication Date 2014
Deposit Date Oct 29, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Computer science education; graduate skills; internships; placements; e-Placement Scotland;
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