Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Employers' Interests: Providing Project Work Placements for Humanities Students

Joanna Tapper.

The projects are carried out within the framework of an academic credit subject that provides opportunities for students to learn about project management through practical experience, and to develop the generic skills valued by employers. The subject aims to help humanities students to bridge the gap between academic study and graduate employment. Humanities graduates can sometimes find it hard to demonstrate to prospective employers relevant experience and skills. Work placements during university study are one way for students to gain experience and develop skills. However, humanities faculties face challenges in setting up work placements for their students. There is huge competition among universities to find willing host employers, and it can be difficult to convince host employers that humanities students can fit into organisational activities for relatively short placements. The subject—Managing Work & Projects—is in its third year and has met with the approval of students and employers. The paper presents reactions gained through follow-up semi-structured interviews with host employers. Their willingness to provide practical placements for students is crucial. In order for us to nurture existing employers and find new ones, we need to understand employers’ motives in agreeing to host our students, and any issues involving their participation. Our experiences may be useful for others who wish to set up similar work placements. In turn, we are eager to hear about the experiences of other universities in walking the pathways between places of learning and the ‘real’ world.


Joanna Tapper  (Australia)
Senior Lecturer in Communication Skills
Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
University of Melbourne

PhD in rhetoric and composition. Teach business and technical writing, postgraduate courses on academic writing style, and linguistics/applied linguistics subjects, such as language and culture. Research interests include the role of work placements in developing students' 'generic' skills.

  • Work Placements
  • Project Placements
  • University and Employer Links

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)