Pilot Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) Industry Placement Program

Victoria University
Dr Domenico Caridi
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
Telephone: +61 3 9919 8077
Domenico.Caridi@vu.edu.au

May 26, 2009

DCaridi

Vignette title and details

Pilot Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) Industry Placement Program
20 days, Full-time (during mid-semester break or end of year break) or Part-Time during the semester, Pilot offered to chemistry Undergraduates that had completed 2nd year,

Discipline

Chemistry

Employment sector

Chemical Industry

Student numbers

Pilot program involved 15 students. When introduced into the BSc (Chemistry) 15-25 students may be involved each year.

Optional/compulsory
Credit bearing?

Optional. As the project was a pilot program and it was not part of the chemistry course it was optional for students. No credit was offered to these students but students saw the opportunity of getting real workplace experience as the prime advantage. The industry placement program will be introduced into the BSc (Chemistry) as a 3rd year compulsory unit worth 12 credit points.

Assessment

Assessment is comprised of written tasks completed on Blackboard (online tool) and an oral presentation made by the relevant student. The industry partner also provides a student appraisal.

Payment

Some industry partners were keen to pay students

Number of staff involved

Project Manager and Project Officer to develop, run and evaluate Pilot Program
Two staff from LiWC portfolio for Preparation for Placement workshop
Two Staff from VU OHS for OHS workshop

Weblink

Key Words

Chemistry; Industrial Chemistry; Science; Undergraduate; Learning in the Workplace and Community, Chemical Industry Work Experience.


Overview

In 2008, a pilot Industry Placement Program was developed and offered to students that had completed year 2 of the BSc (Medical, Forensic & Analytical Chemistry) course. The pilot program ran over the 2008/2009 holiday period and students had the opportunity to spend a minimum of 20 days working in the chemical industry under supervision.

The program is aimed at familiarising students with industry-specific practices and providing them with an understanding of general employment expectations in the chemicals industry. In this way, the program fosters the development of work ready graduates. The pilot program was a huge success, as measured by positive feedback from students, industry and university, and the Chemical Industry. Placement program will form the basis of a Learning in the Workplace and Community Industry Placement Program to be embedded in the Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) course in 2009.

Structure of program

The pilot program can be completed as either a full-time placement for a minimum of 20 days during students mid year break or end of year break, or alternately, it can be completed part-time over the course of a semester.

As part of their assessment, during the placement students are required to obtain information and make observations about the workplace and prepare 300-500 word reflective reports to be submitted online via Blackboard. The reports must address various topics including:

Students are also required to read and respond to the reports of at least two other students that have completed placements and posted reports on Blackboard.

Following completion of the placement, students must also make an oral presentation of 15 to 20 minutes in length and discuss their experiences and details of the placement.

In addition to these web-based and oral assessment tasks, students are also assessed in a report produced by the relevant supervising staff member at the industry partner at which the student completed his or her placement. This assessment report ranks the student on his or her communication skills, presentation, accountability, technical knowledge, analytical skills, problem solving and initiative. The report also allows the assessor to comments on areas in which the student may improve. Both the students Victoria University supervisor and the student also provide comments on the report.

Special features

Industry partners were generally very satisfied with the concept of the program when it was first introduced to them in 2008. In particular, employers highlighted the benefits of the lack of direct expenditure required to employ student participants in the program. Further, employers were pleased with the role of the initiative in developing more graduates that were work ready, and were thus generally happy to play a supervisory role in respect of the student over the course of the one month placement.

Future work

The Industry Placement Program is only one of many other LiWC strategies that are currently being developed for the BSc (Chemistry) program where the aim is to produce a broader industry-focused chemistry course that is modern and innovative and attractive to prospective students. In addition to the placement program, this course will include:

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