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What is work experience?

As you have covered on the residential, work experience in higher education takes many forms. You are likely to be more familar with some than others. Research into work experience commonly looks at one type of experience alone. Here are some examples:

Student employment

Angela Vesey wrote her MA dissertation on student part time employment, summarised in the Phoenix article

Vesey, A (2012) Undergraduates' Work: Blessing or Curse, Phoenix (AGCAS magazine), January 2012


Placements forming part of a programme of study

Richard Mendez looked at the impact on degree classification of industrial placements

Mendez, R. (2008) 'The Correlation between Industrial Placements and Final Degree Results: A Study of Engineering Placement Students', paper delivered at ASET Conference, Plymouth University, Sept 2008


Graduate internships

Robin Mellors Bourne at CRAC has worked on the impact of short internships post gradation See reading list.


Rather than getting bogged down in agreeing terminology, I find it more interesting to reflect on the points of similarity and points of difference between these forms of work experience. For example, are some forms more accessible to some sorts of students than others?


Outside Higher Education

Going beyond higher education, 'work experience' is also well used as terminology within schools, colleges and welfare to work organisations. Some example publications if you wanted to read about work experience in these contexts are below:

CIPD and Job Centre Plus/DWP (2012) Work Experience Placements that Work: A Guide for Employers, updated April 2012. London: CIPD

Mann, A. (2012) Work Experience: impact and delivery – insights from the evidence. London: Education and Employers Task Force

McNeil, C. (ed) (2010) Now its Personal: The new landscape of welfare to work. London: IPPR