An overview of placement practices in Athlone Institute of Technology.
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There is strong evidence to suggest that placements and work experience are extremely valuable to students, both in terms of their academic performance and their employability skills. Research conducted with higher education staff has established that the primary benefits of work placements for HEIs include opportunities to enhance networking and mutual understanding with workplaces, integrating employability skills into the curriculum, and applying theoretical knowledge in practice (Sheridan & Linehan, 2011). The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 endorses the fact that many undergraduate programmes in Irish higher education institutions already include work placements or internships, but notes that more such opportunities should be provided. The report’s authors recommend that ‘undergraduate students should be encouraged to spend some time in a work or service situation, and formally acknowledge such work through accreditation or inclusion in the student’s Diploma Supplement (Department of Education and Skills, 2011, p. 61).
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