Internships: More than enhancing graduate attributes and employability
About the project
The aim of this project is to examine student’s responses in respect of their key tasks, learning outcomes and overall experience from a work-based experiential practicum programme in sport management.
Understanding student’s perceptions will help to inform and change teaching practice through increased focus on specific graduate attributes and a broader range of added value aspects of WIL programmes that have been highlighted in previous research.
A 5th Internship resource for students and supervisors will be developed, WIL: More than enhancing graduate attributes and employability, to add to the 4 previously published Ako Aotearoa WIL resources (see Martin & Hughes, 2009; Martin, Rees & Edwards, 2011).
A report will be available at completion.
In this case study of Massey University’s sport management programme, historical document analysis of student reflections post practicum (n=300), on their key tasks, learning outcomes and overall experience are presented over a 10 year period from 2007 to 2016.
The same questions have been asked throughout the period with a 100% return rate, adding to the credibility of the findings.
Each year’s worth of data will be aggregated into one larger document and then uploaded into a qualitative data analysis computer software package, Nvivo11, for coding.
Content analysis of the open ended question responses will involve searching (using Nvivo11) for common themes based on the model of analysis described by Braun and Clarke (2006).
Each student’s contribution within that document will then be coded separately.
The analysis will include deductive alignment with the new Massey employability characteristics plus inductive inclusion of additional content not immediately apparent from such a classification or grouping.
Some importance will be placed on the frequency or variety of the most salient themes (Cohen et al., 2007).
Yin (2009) indicated that content analysis attempts to ‘quantify’ qualitative data aiming for greater credibility of the findings.
Whilst the focus of TEC and University strategy has increasingly been focused on developing work ready graduates, the WIL experience is more than just increasing graduate attributes and employability.
These WIL experiences challenge students to push their comfort zones, developing greater personal self-awareness and enhanced professional career expectations.
These industry placements also add value to the organisation’s programmes and activities, and staff in terms of their professional development.
Graduate feedback has indicated that to enhance employability in the sport and recreation industry, Work Integrated Learning (WIL) programs need to be designed so that students are provided with opportunities to facilitate the development of various competencies (Fleming, Martin, Hughes & Zinn, 2009).
“In this context, attributes that are highly valued include the ability and willingness to learn, enthusiastic participation (passion for sport), use of initiative/self-sufficiency, and personal organizational skills.
Success in this industry relies on relationship building/ developing professional networks as well as teamwork and cooperation” (Martin, 2013, p. 131).
Developing attributes such as strong oral and written communication skills, self-confidence, and customer relationship management highlight once again the importance of both personal and professional development throughout the practicum experience (Fleming et al., 2009).
A presentation of preliminary findings will be made at the 25th New Zealand Association of Cooperative Education Conference in Queenstown, April 2017.
- Ako Aotearoa $10,000 (excl. GST)
- Massey University $20,000 (excl. GST)
- Project commenced: March 2017
- Expected project completion: January 2018