Work it out for yourself

21 Dec

A degree qualification can be useful, essential even. But it’s not a great differentiator when applying for work.

The Learning and Skills Council has found that work experience boosts earnings and improves job prospects.

That’s why we require our students to perform unpaid work experience in every year of our course, and offer a paid one-year’s work placement as an option. As I plan my work placement visits, this study is a useful reminder that learning is not limited to the lecture theatre.

3 Responses to “Work it out for yourself”

  1. Heather Yaxley 21/12/2006 at 5:23 pm #

    Good placements offer benefits all round – smart employers identify potential recruits (and should gain from fresh input from young practitioners) and undoubtedly those undertaking work experience grow exponentially. The difference at Bournemouth University in the 4th year PR students on returning from placement compared to the same people going out a year earlier is phenomenal. This is not only in practical skills terms, but in their ability to relate theory to “real world” PR. Through the motor industry public affairs association ( we encourage our members to invest in placement students, act as mentors to young practitioners and offer a programme of workshops targeting those new to the industry where we focus on best practice. The great thing about studying PR is that the vocational and professional dimensions can be combined to add more than the sum of the parts.

  2. John Stauffer 27/12/2006 at 8:45 pm #

    Richard, I enjoy your blog, it’s certainly a resource for young pr pros.
    You mentioned non-paid internships. I’m just as much as a fan of experience outside the classroom as the next guy, but non-paid internships limit the pool to only candidates who can afford to work for no pay. I’d hate to think well qualified candidates may be forced to turn down an internship because they need a cash flow for tuition, books, room&board, etc…
    Your thoughts on unpaid vs. paid?

  3. Richard Bailey 02/01/2007 at 11:29 am #

    John: many people have a principled objection to volunteering… the unions (whose goal is better pay and conditions and higher employment); governments (who like to control, and who rely on tax revenues). There are also matters of employment and health and safety law to consider and respect.
    Yet consider the benefits of a flexible labour market and of organisations opening their doors rather than remaining closed to outsiders. (Employers meet potential candidates this way, too.)
    Social, economic and legal factors can all work against workplace volunteering – but that doesn’t mean that it’s not still a good thing for an ambitious student. Can the student afford it? You might as well ask: should the student become educated? There are big costs in the process of education; these costs are justifiable (in economic and social terms) when seen in the context of a lifetime.

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