Title: Surviving and Thriving through 2020: a BJBS journey
Presenter(s): Kirrily Welsh, Jenny Grainger & Liz Bracken
Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences
Session Type: Interactive Discussion
When: Wednesday, November 18th 2020 @ 3pm – 4pm
Abstract: It is not in dispute that work placement has well known benefits to multiple stakeholders and contributes to student success at university and beyond (Brooks & Youngson, 2016; Jackson & Collings, 2018; O’Donovan, 2018). University work placement is particularly prized for its ability to develop employability skills which lead to better graduate employment (Margaryan, Saniter, Schumann, & Siedler, 2019; Silva et al., 2018). For placement programs to succeed and contribute to employability skill development and student success, a team of professional placement support to operationalise the placement program is required. This presentation provides a snap shot of BJBS WPL in 2020 and our journey through this year of crises seen through the eyes of the data. The two unexpected crises provoked changes in data collection which have improved the WPL team’s ability to target and engage students in need of additional assistance to ensure a successful placement experience.
WPL 2020 wasn’t just about managing placements through a pandemic. WPL’s year of crises began, quite literally, with a baptism of fire with the 2019/2020 Australian ‘Black Summer. Although all WPL students were reported safe, the emergency created by the bushfires triggered BJBS WPL stakeholders to reflect on the existing placement processes around crises. Fortuitously wanting a better understanding of student placement behaviour both through and after the bushfires laid the foundations for a more adaptive, responsive and flexible WPL framework. This initial groundwork better prepared BJBS WPL for managing student and placement during COVID-19.
During the bushfire crisis we considered the data captured by InPlace at that time. We also considered if there was any additional useful student information that would give better tracking of our students to help assist with successful placements. As a result changes were made to WPL student data capture to track some of the changes in placement the WPL team were noticing.
As COVID-19 followed the bushfires, the changes made to BJBS WPL data collection proved very useful to identify and then adapt to student placement needs. This contributed to student engagement in the placement program with a number of students being supported to continue in the subject rather than withdrawing from placement. This level of student engagement during a crisis was achieved through working with the student, host supervisor and academics to secure agreement from included working home arrangements, virtual placements, deferred placement and work-integrated learning projects.
On an operational level, the access to more detailed student WPL data has provided wider program visibility and a chance to update and improve current practices. The ability to access more granular levels of information in a more responsive manner has both pandemic and post-pandemic benefits for BJBS WPL.