What is the best way to organise,
carry out and assess credited work placements?
This website includes tools for students, placement hosts and placement tutors in higher education to use when embarking on a work placement. They have been co-developed to facilitate critical engagement with the process of carrying out a work placement from these three perspectives. The ‘overarching considerations’ and three flow diagrams have been developed in consultation with postgraduate students, representatives of arts organisations and academic teaching staff on MAs in Applied Theatre, Curating, Arts Management and Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture. These tools aim to help support ethical, tripartite agreements between the three parties involved – the student, the academy and the host organisation.
- The university tutor and host organisation will support the student if any issues arise before and during the placement.
- Ensure students with any self-declared disabilities are supported.
- Clarify and agree the learning aims and learning outcomes of the placement.
- Identify and agree clear roles, expectations and timescales (hours and working patterns) for each of you.
- Acknowledge the needs and resources to put together a work placement that is adaptable and flexible to the student.
- Agree on outcomes but also acknowledge that these may change depending on the nature of the course, student and the specialised interest.
- Consider remuneration for the student, even if legally this is not required, as this can address issues of equality (consider the time and resources it takes to do a placement). Students should not be expected to incur expenses as part of their work placement.
- Set up a meeting at the end of the placement between university tutor, host and student focusing on feedback of the process and reflecting on learning aims and outcomes. Individual meetings between student and host, student and university tutor, tutor and host may also be necessary.
- Confirm that the university will be solely responsible for assessment. Host organisations are welcome to provide feedback.
- Acknowledge the relationship between work and learning and between the practice and academic study.
- Clarify intellectual property rights and confidentiality clauses prior to the work placements.
Special considerations for university course leaders,
placement tutors and administrators:
University course leaders, placement tutors and administrators agree to:
- Ensure students and host organisations are aware of the need to make sure that there is a good match between them and that appropriate screening processes are in place.
- Ensure that both the university and host organisation has public liability insurance. In the case when the host organisation does not have insurance that covers the student, ensure the student is made aware of this and the need for a health and safety risk assessment.
- Clarify who in the university is a point of contact for the host organisation and students and manage the expectations of the students and host organisations.
- Develop and maintain a network of hosts (for example set up an annual committee from representatives from arts organisations).
- Ensure equality of placement opportunities. Consider the time and resources needed, the networks that students have or do not have and how this may prevent them from carrying out placements, acknowledging that some students will need more support than others.
- Ensure host organisations know about the course (e.g. copy of handbook) and ensure that students provide host organisations with information about themselves or give tutors permission to release this information.
- If suitable, identify shared collaborations or long term relationship with hosts, in terms of research and outreach.
- Ensure the student is aware of any other legal requirements, such as DBS checks if working with children.
Special considerations for placement students:
Students agree to:
- Be clear about your learning aims and outcomes for the placement and how it relates to your overall MA studies.
- Consider declaring any health issues or disabilities so as to receive the support you need.
- Research the organisations you want to do a work placement in and liaise with your university tutor / placement administrator to clarify how to approach the organisation.
- Be aware of the time and resources needed to undertake a work placement and identify what kind of support you need.
- Provide host organisations with details of any requirements that are associated with hosting you in a work placement for academic credit.
- Familiarise yourself with the host organisation’s placement policy and code of conduct in relation to guidelines for best practice set by the university and other agencies.
- Be mindful that learning means being open-minded and an awareness of the context you are in.
- If you broker your own placement, make sure you inform your placement tutor to ensure that the university regulations are adhered to.
- Be mindful of the expectations of professionalism that are required of you during your work placement.
Special considerations for placement supervisors
in host organisations:
Host organisations agree to:
- Identity a staff member who is the contact and supervisor in the organisation for the work placement student and a timetable of regular meetings.
- Provide an induction for the student at the beginning of the work placement including introduction to the organisation, staff, health and safety and any issues of confidentiality.
- Identify and be aware of the time and resources necessary to host a work placement
- Acknowledge the student through the work/research they are doing in the organisation rather than as the ‘intern’ or the ‘work placement person’; acknowledging that they are there to learn as well as work (e.g. a label could be Arts Education Placement Student).
- Provide an exit interview for the student at the end of the placement that outlines any exit procedures and responsibilities.
- If suitable, identify shared collaborations or long term relationship with universities in terms of research and outreach.