Employability Conference Summary

Evaluation of the University of Westminster Students’ Placements in Montluçon since 2009.

The evaluation of an internship involves a series of complex choices: What method of evaluation? What rating? Based on what criteria – and on what selection of data? Finally, is it more important to evaluate an internship in terms of its effectiveness, or to focus on the work of the intern?

An internship is a composite where a number of important aspects need to be taken into account. The preparation and content of the internship as well as the supervision are all among important factors to be assessed, but the most difficult element to distinguish and measure is doubtless the students’ attitudes and behaviours while immersed in a professional setting. If it is already not easy to assess the knowledge and know-how, it is even more difficult to assess the skills that relate to these attitudes and professional behaviours.

"To assess is to create" wrote Friedrich Nietzsche. According to this line of thought, evaluating the work placement of a student will indicate the path to follow to achieve success. Such an evaluation will aim to rise to a tangible career path.

The objective of this paper is to highlight the different phases of the work placement to be assessed. The preparation of the internship, its mission statement, the evaluation of the internship by employers and interns alike are the first data to be collected, followed by our personal evaluation of the impact of the work placement.

Our methodology is not part of a heuristic approach to systematic research, but it remains consistent with the spirit of empiricism, since it draws its conclusions from experience and observation. It has no scientific pretensions, but is the first stepping stone for an organized pattern of thoughts on this subject.

1. Available Work placements and preparation

2. Employers’ evaluation

3. Return of interns

4. Personal evaluation

5. Conclusion

Conclusion

The success of a work placement is first of all related to the attitude of the interns, and to their behaviour. This is in a large measure due to the maturity and the ability of an intern to adapt to a new environment both on a professional and personal basis, his/her willingness to embrace another culture and to learn its language.

The student’s involvement is all the more so that the mission of the internship is to offer the acquisition of job competences that can be transcribed on their CV. Conversely, the absence of concrete work opportunities is a de-motivating factor for a student whose concern is not confined to the strict language acquisition in a narrow sense. An internship abroad must make sense and is most often part of a career path.

Therefore, the proper evaluation of the student depends on the quality of the internship in terms of assignment content and supervision. The choice of internships on offer requires the utmost vigilance as to their characteristics and how they correspond with interns’ objectives for their professional development.

Dr Laurence Randall.

International students on Westminster Bridge

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