PurposeIt is well established that there are several benefits of taking a placement year, for example, higher academic attainment, the acquisition of transferable skills and enhanced employability. It is therefore important to understand why students choose to take or not to take a placement. The paper aims to discuss this issue.Design/methodology/approachIn the current study, 159 first year students studying psychology were asked about their perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of taking a psychology professional placement year. Their responses were analysed using thematic analysis, and the number of participants who provided information relating to each main theme was also tabulated.FindingsStudents perceived the main benefits of placements as relating to career certainty, future prospects, experience, knowledge and skills. In contrast, they perceived the main disadvantages as practical disadvantages, social/emotional disadvantages, difficulty, and there being no guaranteed benefit of a placement.Practical implicationsThe results are discussed in terms of their potential to inform practices for developing and enhancing psychology placements within higher education. For example, providing further empirical evidence of the benefits of placements may help staff in higher education to further promote placement years.Originality/valueThe study contributes to the knowledge of perceived advantages and disadvantages of taking a placement in psychology. Placements in psychology are likely to be very beneficial for employability, but are often only available on a voluntary basis.
Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 12, 2019