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Criminology placements: work-based learning and organisational “buy in”

Kate Bramford (Department of Social Work, University of the West of England Bristol, Bristol, UK)
Anne L. Eason (Department of Policing, University of the West of England Bristol, Bristol, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 3 June 2020

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021




This study aims to explore the views of criminal justice and allied sector organisations and agencies, of why they provide placements for the Applied Criminology programme at the University of Worcester, UK.


The study took a qualitative approach to tease out the underlying contributory factors that featured in the decision to offer placements. It used semi-structured interviews of key personnel, and thematic analysis was subsequently undertaken on the data collected.


Several themes emerged, in particular reciprocal learning, dynamism, employability and social investment. These appeared to be the most impactful on the organisation in relation to the future recruitment of staff as well as the enhancement of current staff practice.

Research limitations/implications

Based upon the scale of the research, the findings may have limited transferability.

Practical implications

There is a hidden benefit to organisations, which could be capitalised upon as a reciprocal learning process, which enhances practice and therefore outcomes.

Social implications

Stereotypes are challenged, resulting in students overcoming preconceived ideas about particular service user groups.


Whilst research into work-based learning and the benefits of placements for students is not new, research enquiring as to why organisations are prepared to offer placements remains in its infancy.



Bramford, K. and Eason, A.L. (2021), "Criminology placements: work-based learning and organisational “buy in”", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 317-329.



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