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Learning chemistry through placements: building on good practice and identifying new opportunities

Lead Institution: Plymouth University
Collaborating with: Bournemouth University

This is a sub-project of Get STEM working: innovation with employer and student engagement


Following an initial pilot project carried out amongst local South West companies, the feasibility of hosting short-term placements by companies who traditionally host year-long placement opportunities, was further explored. The pilot project indicated that companies have different perceptions, barriers and opportunities for hosting placements which the University of Plymouth seek to overcome. By better understanding these perceptions and barriers it is easier to ensure that the appropriate mechanisms are in place in order to support the work-based learning experience for both students and employers alike. This project sought to gain insight into the employers’ requirements and thereby ensure that it is a beneficial experience for both.

Find out more about placements at Plymouth University here

Aims and objectives

  1. To determine whether typical chemistry employers who traditionally host sandwich or long-term (1-year) placement students can offer short-term (e.g. 4 – 8 weeks) placements as an alternative work-based learning experience
  2. To determine if non-traditional employers of chemistry students/graduates are able to offer relevant and appropriate short- and long-term placement opportunities for chemistry students.
  3. Collation and analysis of feedback from employers and students returning from placements to inform good practice and development of successful placement schemes in the future
  4. Development of employer-centred approach that can help companies overcome perceived and potential barriers to offering placement opportunities.

Staff involved

Prof Simon Belt
Project lead, Plymouth University

Liz Vincent
Project coordinator, Plymouth University

Christine Keenan
Bournemouth University

Penny Mitchell
Bournemouth University