Work Placements – Are They Useful In Vocational Education?
Work placements involve trainees and students gaining experience within a workplace, with the objective of achieving set learning outcomes and goals. It could even lead to potential employment once their education is complete. With the current skills shortage in the UK, industrial attachment provides a great opportunity for graduates leaving university, giving them the skills they need. Employers are showing more and more interest in graduates with work experience, so it really is worth investing in.
Work Experience & Workplace Skills
Whether an informal or formal placement is undertaken, experience and skills gained can be used for a job application, or even within the interview process. Higher education courses often lack teaching the additional knowledge, skills and behaviours required in the workplace itself so the idea of industrial attachment and work placement helps to fill this gap. Vocational education is a lot more hands on, and provides learners with the experience, knowledge and skills needed for employment.
Some of the core skills that work experience provides learners with includes:
- Self-reliance skills; the ability to work independently, as well as the student identifying their own strengths and weaknesses in particular areas.
- People skills; this includes interpersonal skills as well as effective communication skills (written and verbal).
- General skills; such as flexibility, thinking on their feet, innovative thinking and adjusting to new challenges.
- Specialist skills; these are technical skills and knowledge that are specific to the industry or organisation.
Exploring Career Options
Work placements are a great way for students to work out what career they eventually want to go into. It also gives them the opportunity to identify potential roles in a certain industry; allowing them to gather lots of information first-hand before launching into a career they aren’t sure about. Also having work experience on a CV will give the edge in a very competitive job market. Therefore, making students stand out from the crowd.
Employers regularly employ fresh graduates who have excellent work ethic, as well as experience. There are both things that can’t be taught through education; but only via working within an industry and being able to gain that vital experience. By including industrial attachment along with a work placement this means students get to move from one place to another and learn even more. Exposing them to different environments, where they have to learn to work and contribute to the business.
Preparing For The World Of Work
Nothing can prepare students for the world of work better than immersing themselves into it. By undertaking work experience, this shows prospective employers that the student is ready for the corporate world. It also highlights the transferable skills they have acquired during their placement, and are certain about their career path due to already working in a similar environment.
It is important to choose high quality industrial attachments and work placements in order to gain those essential life skills. The student needs to be able to explore different career ideas, whilst connecting with experts to provide them with advice and networking opportunities. The student should also be able to ask a member of staff for a reference to help support a future job application too.
Bridging The Gap
As you can see, work placements are an extremely important part of both the education and learning process for all students (including vocational students).
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