Researchers at the University of Warwick explore potential barriers that widening participation (WP) students experience when considering internships and industrial placement years
- Four barriers were identified around the topic of authenticity of self, a general trepidation around workplace etiquette and individuals within a workplace, the representation of individuals within a professional environment, and having to adjust to another new environment so soon after learning to adjust to university life.
- Two financial barriers - expense and time - were identified through friendship pair discussions.
- Lack of skills and experience were further barriers that students identified.
- Lack of experience as a barrier was a theme that emerged in all the student conversations, in particular the relevance of that experience. This was a theme that the students linked to their backgrounds and the lack of connections they may have had compared to their peers at Warwick.
- Students were also aware of a knowledge gap that existed at their point of entrance to universities. Other students had more awareness of the opportunities available to them, the existence of spring weeks and the early application windows for these.
- The common misconception that, to undertake work experiences, you should know what career you want, was expressed.
- Another theme that emerged from the data was the lack of connections (or at least perceived lack of connections) that participants possessed.
Download the full report
Exploring widening participation student perceptions of the barriers faced in considering, sourcing, and applying for an Undergraduate placement year
About the report
This HECSU-funded research report explores the following research questions.
- What were the motivating factors for students with widening participation characteristics, associated with opting on to internships and a placement year in industry?
- What potential barriers do WP students experience or perceive when considering internships and industrial placement years?
- What do their accounts tell us about supporting students with WP characteristics to access industrial placements?
The purpose of this research study was to gain an authentic insight into the experiences and perceptions of students with widening participation characteristics on their ability to source and secure industrial placement experiences, endeavouring to understand both motivating and demotivating factors around the placement search and recruitment process.
Funding for this research was awarded by HECSU prior to its merger with Jisc in May 2020.
Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback