I participated in a conference call this afternoon, organised by E-Skills UK, to discuss how Scottish colleges can access the E-Placement Scotland scheme. Around 15 people participated in the tele-meeting.
Mark Ratcliffe, of E-Skills, went over the background to the project. The project runs over the next three years and hopes to generate 750 new work placements for students in IT companies in Scotland. Mark pointed out that the project also hoped to make better use of existing placement opportunities. IT placements declined significantly during the last decade (by 50% according to Mark) and it was hoped that this project would reverse that trend and provide students with better employability skills.
An important part of the project is the associated website, where students and employers can arange placements.
The placements must be between 3-12 months in duration. They can be full-time or part-time (but must amount to at least 3 months full-time employment). It was suggested that it might be possible to use the summer holiday between the first and second years of the HND programme to fit in some of the placement. But the timing is an issue.
Although it's not vital that the placement is credit bearing, several people expressed the view that it would be advantageous if completion of the placement was part of the HN awards (as options) and I will be looking further into this in the coming weeks.
Contact Mark if you want to know more about this initiative.