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Experience in the Wider Society

Research into case studies and examples of how placements are used - in a wider society, in schools, manual trades, and to provide work experience.

Young People's Volunteering and Skills Development
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) study. Young people 11-25, experience and results of volunteering. Findings focus on 'personal development', though some mention of relevance to wider learning. Identifies lack of provision for contextualising and reflection on experience within wider learning.
The National Youth Agency. 2007.
http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RW103.pdf

Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study - Second Literature Review
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) study. Examining the relationship between citizenship education and wider political participation. The results show a clear correlation between citizenship education and engagement.
P. Whiteley 2005.
http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR631.pdf

Active Citizens in School: Evolution of the DfES Pilot Programme
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) report on pilot volunteering programme for 11-15 yr olds. Again effect mostly on personal development, but some wider 'community benefits'.
A. Ellis 2005.
http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR620.pdf

Graduates Work - Organisational Change and Students' attributes
Attitude survey of Graduates and Employers. Some talk of lack of relevance of degree to later employment, and lack of preparedness of Graduates to world of work. "Placements are seen by employers and graduate employees as the single most significant missing element of the majority of degree programmes", Direct relevance of work-placements to academic studies claimed.
Harvey, L., Moon, S. and Geall, V. 1997.
http://www0.uce.ac.uk/crq/publications/gw/gwcon.html

Evaluation of New Approaches to Work-Related Learning at Key Stage Four
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) - large scale evaluation of Work Related Learning projects in Schools. Academic benefit shown in some projects, more prevalent were effects on 'life direction' factors, such as 'positive' paths post-16, likelihood of leaving school with qualifications & knowledge of post-16 options.
Watson, A., Stuart, N. and Ferguson, J. 2002.
For a summary: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/rb325.pdf

How much does Higher Education enhance the Employability of Graduates?
Covers five subject areas: Biological Sciences, Business Studies, Computing, Design and History, this example is the closest in nature to the social sciences. Interviews with Academics, employed graduates and their immediate line managers, and statistical analysis of the answers. Concerns about employability were ranked lowest in History, and subject knowledge was judged the least relevant to future employment. Again a positive correlation was found between a sandwich year and the likelihood of future employment, this time specifically in 'graduate-level' positions. There was no correlation with success later on in employment, judged by salary or position. Students who had taken some kind of work experience as part of their course were more prevalent in the sample of employed graduates, though this was in part ascribed to the subjects focussed upon. The sample of employed graduates was skewed by towards those who were still with their initial employer at the time of the sample (1-3 years later). Other types of work experience were as prevalent as in the body of students as a whole. In all subject areas (except Design), only about a quarter of graduate's managers judged them to have 'all or most' of the required skills for the job, though many of the 'lacking skills' were judged to be job specific rather than transferable. In general, no correlation was found between skills development measures at university and career success 1-3 years after graduation, an exception being the amount of time graduates said was devoted to group/team projects, key skills courses and oral presentations.
Mason, G., Williams, G., Cranmer, S. and Guile, D. 2003.
http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rdreports/2003/rd13%5F03/default.asp