From student to young professional: Exploring the impact of work-based placements on the transformation of undergraduate construction students

Weirs, John (2021) From student to young professional: Exploring the impact of work-based placements on the transformation of undergraduate construction students. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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From education to accountancy, nursing to tourism, literature is awash with studies relating to work-based placements yet there appears to be little which specifically addresses the construction industry. Work-based placement literature often argues that students return to university from their placement a different person, somehow transformed. However, the majority of this literature focusses on the transformative outcome, with little empirical research investigating the transformational process itself. The following thesis offers a phenomenological study which seeks to address these two gaps in knowledge by exploring the transformational journey upon which construction undergraduates travel during a work-based placement. Framed within Jack Mezirow’s transformative learning theory, it investigates work-based placements from the student’s perspective, examining the issues they face and searching for answers to how and if a placement can affect the transformation of students.
A mixed methods approach consisting of semi-structured interviews and a self-administered explorative questionnaire was used to examine the experiences of placement students before and after their placement. The qualitative data were subjected to a thematic analysis to establish key themes, while the quantitative data were subjected to a series of statistical tests and summaries to uncover patterns, associations and differences.
The data revealed that at the beginning of their placement students had an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, a lack of confidence and an uncertainty as to how they would perform and, while learning was clearly taking place, at times it was almost on an ad-hoc basis. Transformation was occurring but many students were unaware of this change. There were many factors which contributed to their transformation with the key finding being a self-perpetuating cycle of an increase in knowledge and experience leading to increased confidence which gradually changed them from student to young professional.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Skills Development, Employability, Reflective Practice, Self Efficacy, Sandwich Degree
Subjects: H900 Others in Engineering
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 12:13
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2021 12:15

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