Sarah Leith Experiential Learning, Careers
Using a presentation, a student case study (in the form of a real student!) and a groupwork task, Sarah Leith explained the current @Work projects that are undertaken every summer by over 200 students, and posed the question above to an enthusiastic and talkative audience.
The buzzwords of the session were ‘real’, ‘challenging’ and ‘relevant’, and audience members had a range of opinions on what these words meant in relation to work based learning for their discipline areas.
‘Real’ was explained with enthusiasm by Emily when she discussed her involvement in the Law and Justice project, which included her fear of standing in front of a class of children. She talked about the impact this project had had on her understanding of career options beyond teaching, and how it had helped her to bridge the gap between her study and career options.
Sarah talked about ‘challenging’ as projects are all live briefs, so students have a tangible outcome to deliver and they have to shape and drive the project forward – and in just a term. She explained the positive aspects of such challenges, which included success stories about students being offered ‘real’ work after undertaking projects, and the emotional engagement in student participants supporting the learning gained from the projects.
‘Relevant’ was the focus of the group discussions. On my table we discussed this in relation to the students’ ambitions for their future, the needs of the community (both in York and further afield), the staff members perceptions of the needs of employers, and the links between the projects and the curriculum. This was a great opportunity to share ideas and consider potential future projects.
In answer to Sarah’s opening question, the audience members in the session answered with ‘In many ways!’ Now delegates have their own real, challenging and relevant project – to educate their departments about the @Work scheme.
Jenny Gibbons, York Law School, University of York