It has become a received wisdom that the completion of a work placement as part of a sandwich undergraduate degree is of positive benefit both to graduates and employers, particularly in an era that stresses the economic contribution of higher education through developing graduate employability. This benefit is two-fold: first, work placements positively contribute to the development of generic employability skills; second, placements provide a ‘head-start’ for graduates at the start of their careers. This paper explores the value of a work placement in these two areas for a cohort of business and management graduates who completed their undergraduate studies in 2003, drawing upon both longitudinal quantitative and qualitative data. Whilst the qualitative data provides a positive assessment of the benefits of a work placement, the quantitative data suggests a more complex relationship between work placements, skills development and labour market outcomes.
Wilton, N. (2012). The impact of work placements on skills development and labour market outcomes for business and management graduates. Studies in Higher Education, 37(5), 603-620. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2010.532548