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Perceived advantages and disadvantages of taking a psychology professional placement year

Helen St Clair-Thompson (School of Psychology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Carla Chivers (School of Psychology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 23 January 2019

Issue publication date: 23 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

It 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/approach

In 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.

Findings

Students 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 implications

The 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/value

The 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.

Keywords

Citation

St Clair-Thompson, H. and Chivers, C. (2019), "Perceived advantages and disadvantages of taking a psychology professional placement year", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 456-467. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-06-2018-0065

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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