Research Output

Making internships meaningful: the challenge of encouraging reflection and skills articulation.

  In recent years considerable emphasis has been placed on embedding employability and skills development in core university curriculum content as well as providing additional support and development to enhance links between learning and work
(SFC 2004, 2009, Yorke 2006, Pegg et al 2012) . A focus on ‘graduate attributes’, for example, highlights a commitment to developing skills and abilities across the curriculum and university experience (Hounsell 2010, Barrie 2007, Dacre Pool & Sewell 2007). But there is a risk that this has become so ‘embedded’ that students
struggle to identify, articulate and (re)present the skills and knowledge they have developed at university to employers and others. This paper draws on critical insights from the Third Sector Internships Scotland programme to explore the challenges many students have in articulating skills and experience. Over the past three years the programme has offered over 275 internships, received 6500 applications from students and offered bespoke feedback on 1000+ interviews. The research team have therefore had access to an extensive and unique dataset from which to consider the spectrum of student employability needs across the Scottish sector. Through this lens the paper poses critical questions about how universities can / should best support students to identify and articulate skills development and the tools and resources available to facilitate reflection and communication.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    10 December 2014

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    378 Higher education

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Caddell, M. (2014, December). Making internships meaningful: the challenge of encouraging reflection and skills articulation. Presented at SRHE Annual Conference 10-12 December 2014, Newport, South Wales



Internship, reflection, skills, articulation,

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