Embed the benefits of placements within the university curriculum

Join the Teaching and Learning SIG as they discuss the benefits of integrating placement programmes in the wider university curriculum.

A university teacher sat by and pointing at a tree stump with students

How do we prepare students for employment in ecology and offer work-related experiences before graduation?  Students often seek work experience in the context of volunteering or unpaid internships but barriers to participation in unpaid work include difficulty in taking a break from paid part-time work, from caring responsibilities and from tenancy contracts if the placement involves travel. Additionally, extra-curricular opportunities can suffer from poor integration with the rest of a student’s programme of study.

This seminar explores ways in which the benefits gained from placements or internships can be integrated into university curricula to improve their accessibility to all students.  These benefits include personal growth; development of a questioning approach and ways of thinking; confidence; adaptability; tolerance of ambiguity; the extra motivation derived from doing something “real” and useful to the outside world; industry awareness; “soft skills” such as teamwork, self-management and communication and experience with specialist techniques.


The programme will include case studies from across the ecology sector (relevant for graduate destinations in consultancy, policy, research and the charitable sector) that will illustrate how the type of student experience normally associated with internships can be achieved in the regular curriculum; innovative assessment approaches for work-related learning and the achievement of graduate attributes related to employability; and evaluation of the impact of work placement-like experiences in the curriculum. The plenary will be delivered by Dr Dominic Henri from the University of Hull.

Talks and Posters

We invite contributions from HE teachers, employers, students, recent graduates and those involved in career guidance in STEM; showcasing placement-like experiences within curricula, innovative assessments of employability skills, collaboration between educators and employers and evaluations of the employability skills of ecology graduates. Attendees will find new ideas for enhancing the employability of their graduates, learn from the experiences of others and find new opportunities for collaboration.

Abstracts can be submitted to g.ballantyne@napier.ac.uk and  j.mackinnon@napier.ac.uk and should include:

  • Name
  • Institution
  • Email address
  • Whether your proposal is for a 15-minute talk, 30-minute talk, a poster, or a 75-minute workshop
  • 250-300 word abstract

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 23 August 2019


Registration deadline: 6 September 2019

Register here