• Dissertation Research

    How can the practices of organising work placements be improved to match a young person’s aspirations?

    This dissertation was presented by Elisha Fisher as part of her degree of MEd in Community Learning and Development at the School of Education, University of Aberdeen.


    Set within an urban secondary school with young people from socio-economic circumstances where access to social capital is limited, a comparison of pupil aspirations against work placements received revealed that few young people were receiving work placements related to their aspiration. I set up a pilot project with the aim of finding out if the introduction of new methods would improve the outcomes of work placement provision. The project used an action research approach exploring the journey taken by young people, employers and support staff considering perspectives of those involved whilst focussing on helping the young person to develop their individual identity prior to a work placement being arranged. Placements built on the affirmed aspiration ensuring a qualitative journey for the young person to help them make the right decisions for their future. It emerged through the research that using a CLD approach relating work placements to pupils’ values and identity combined with structural flexibility would provide young people, schools and employers with a more objective purpose and active involvement through work placement learning.