Research Output

Can pay, should pay? Exploring paid and unpaid work opportunities from employer and student perspectives.

  Within current university-focused discussions around how to enhance and support student employability, considerable emphasis has been placed on gaining work experience, either through volunteering or via work placements and internships. There is growing evidence that such opportunities are valuable to students in relation to their academic performance and their employability skills. Yet there is also increased concern about an apparent ‘new elitism’, where only those who can afford to work for free can gain such work experience. Efforts to boost employability skills need to benefit ‘the many’ not just those who can afford to work for free. This paper explores the motivations, drivers and experience of students and employers engaged in placement activity, both paid and unpaid, to highlight the critical questions and practical challenges raised by the diversity of practice. It draws on insights from a range of placement and internship programmes currently operating in the Scottish HE sector to explore the relative benefits, and practical challenges, of promoting paid work placements as part of student employability interventions.

  • Publication Status:

    Published

Citation

Caddell, M., McIlwhan, R., Irving, C., Smith, C. F. & Smith, S. (2012). Can pay, should pay? Exploring paid and unpaid work opportunities from employer and student perspectives

Authors

Keywords

Student employability; internships; work placement; work experience; volunteering; employability skills;

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