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The Exeter Award

Enhance your employability


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The workplaceHaving Work Experience as part of your FCH degree enables you to experience the world of work whilst developing important personal and employability skills embedded within your degree.

Employers have told us that graduates with work experience as part of their degree have more appeal in the job market.

Over 60% of jobs go to those on internships. The internship in effect becomes an interview.

Employers are looking for something more than a degree in their graduate recruits, expecting applicants to show an understanding of the world of work, awareness of business, the ability to help organisations tackle change and the ability to integrate knowledge, work experience and technical and interactive skills. (Enhancing Employability, Recognising Diversity, 2002)

Work Experience consists of a combination of work placement and written and aural reflection on the work experience. As a result, you will learn:

  • to think critically and effectively about work
  • what you can gain from employment as regards personal development
  • what you can contribute to an employer

Work experienceIn short, work experience within your degree will help you sell yourself to a future employer.

21st century graduates need to demonstrate to employers that they can ‘hit the ground running’. In addition to working hard to gain a good degree, students should engage in extracurricular activities and obtain work experience in order to develop skills that will make them better prepared for the world of work. It is also important for students to become self-aware and develop the confidence to market themselves effectively when the time comes to apply for jobs. (Carl Gilleard – Chief Executive, Association of Graduate Recruiters.)

 

Length of work placement

The number of hours actually spent at the work placement depends on the amount of credit you want the work experience to have.

  • One year, of a four-year degree – 120 credits (year 3 of the 4 years) (UCAS degree code Y007). During your second year you also take or sit-in on the preparatory FCH2015 / FCH2030 work experience module.
  • 80 hours – a 30 credit module in your second or third year
  • 50 hours – a 15 credit module in your second or third year

 

Fees for the work placement

  • One year placement – a proportion of your normal annual fee is charged – details
  • 30 credit module – taken as part of your 120 credits for the year, so is included in your normal fees
  • 15 credit module – taken as part of your 120 credits for the year, so is included in your normal fees

 

Arranging the work placement

You organise your own work placements. Help with this can be provided, for example, by:

If you are taking a one-year work placement, there is a preparatory Work Experience module in the second year of your degree. This helps provide you with the skills to find a work placement, to know about the assessment for the year in industry and have better career awareness.

 

Work Experience in labIs it Better for your Career to get a First or get Work Experience?

70% of employers agree that degree results alone are not the best measure of employment potential. (Graduates in the Eyes of Employers 2002)

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) reported that 4% of their members would pay around 500 extra to a successful candidate with a first-class degree. However, this is by no means an indication that getting top examination marks is a guarantee of a job after graduation.

The Department for Education and Skills 2002 report on work-related learning strongly confirmed the importance of work experience for new graduates, stating that "many companies will not take on a graduate, unless they have had work experience".

The report Pay and Progression for Graduates 2004 from Incomes Data Services found that around a quarter of organisations pay a premium for work experience. Being particularly strong in the manufacturing sector, this premium was on average 1,002 per annum.

A further pointer to the advantage of work experience in gaining a graduate position has been revealed through research of some 66 graduate employers by the University of Manchester and UMIST Careers Service in 2004. Their research shows that an average of 70% of work experience - summer or year-long - placements lead to a graduate job offer.

According to the survey Graduates in the Eyes of Employers 2002, the majority of recruiters (57%) find that the most effective time to develop relationships with students is during their first or second year at university.

Work experience placements are a particularly valuable way for employers and students to interact. Many employers seek to take on students for the summer (or entire year) prior to their final year which in some cases leads to an early job offer.

The Graduate Experience 2002 Report for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) found that 73% of the graduates surveyed felt that the work experience they had at university helped their career.

Sources: Prospects website, e.g. What do Graduates Do? 2004 and Myths about graduate recruitment