How can you align the expectations regarding the work placement with the student and how do you decide on the supervision?
How do you align expectations about the internship?
One of the key success factors for an work placement is communicating in advance what the study programme expects of its students with regard to their work placement. As all involved parties start an work placement from their own initial situation, it is important not to skip this step. The study programme has its own objectives, the work placement providers have their own corporate culture and expectations, the students have their own personality, expectations, experience and goals, …
Steps that can be undertaken from within the study programme are:
The work placement responsible
includes the general work placement expectations as concretely as possible in the work placement guide and delivers this to the students.
- can hold an introductory class for all students concerning the general work placement expectations of the study programme. You can let students who already did an work placement share their experience, give practical skills and point out pitfalls. Concrete testimonies or finished work placement products can make the work placement objectives and the link between the expectations of the study programme and the expectations of the work placement provider more concrete.
The work placement supervisor
- can invite the individual student for an introductory consultation beforehand. During this conversation, you can clarify the work placement expectations, make practical arrangements (such as working hours, holiday arrangements, insurance, …) and discuss subject matters such as work placement objectives, learning opportunities that the work placement has to offer to meet these objectives, and the responsibilities of the student and the work placement supervisor.
Keep in mind that the practical arrangements should also be noted down in the work placement contract.
- can also elaborate on the expectations that the students have regarding their work placement during this consultation (for example: which concrete work placement objectives does the student want to focus on?). The work placement provider can also have concrete expectations of the student. Should you or the student already be aware of these, they can be a further topic of discussion.
How can you hold an introductory consultation about the work placement?
The introductory consultation can take place as follows:
- Introduce yourself.
- Discuss with the student how the work placement is situated within the study programme:
- what type of work placement is organized.
- how long the work placement lasts.
- how the work placement is situated within the study programme.
- what the starting competencies for the work placement are.
- which learning outcomes should be reached through the work placement.
- Gauge the expectations of the students and possibly let the students set own objectives.
- If the students look for a suitable work placement themselves, it is important to discuss which type of work placement they prefer and why.
- Give the students all necessary documents.
- Discuss the supervising activities and the evaluation criteria.
- Ask the student to draft an activity plan. This is a document outlining the trainee's tasks and activities that will be carried out during the period of work placement.
- Conclude the consultation. Summarize important topics of discussion or let the students do so. If applicable, make arrangements for a follow-up conversation with the students.
How can you arrange work placement supervision?
Tell students concretely what they can expect of you as their work placement supervisor: whether or not you will visit (which is not necessary if the communication between the student and the work placement mentor runs smoothly), how often you will give feedback, etc. For international internships, you can organize an extra consultation during the startup phase. The general aspects of supervision are also included in the work placement guide.
These factors are decisive for determining how much time supervision will take up:
- The number of students you supervise
- The number of individual consultations you hold and how long they last (for example: the introductory consultation, the feedback consultation, the evaluation consultation).
- The number of observations you plan (for example: how long does it take you to reach the work placement provider?)
- The duration of student observation (for example: is the observation followed by a consultation with the work placement mentor and the student and, if so, how much time do you take out for said consultation?)
- Which supervising activities (for example: supervision, intervision) do you organize and how labourious are they?