Employer perceptions of student interns in the media industries

This source preferred by Christa Van Raalte

Authors: Van Raalte, C.

Start date: 9 July 2013

Work placements are generally agreed to be beneficial to undergraduates and to improve their opportunities post-graduation. However all placements are not equally beneficial to students – while for some employers in the media and creative sectors they are seen as a drain on limited resources. A recent study conducted with media employers in the UK, Sweden and America suggests that there is considerable work to be done by Universities, in collaboration with industry, to ensure that students are adequately prepared to gain the maximum benefit from work placements, and that employers themselves are able to derive real benefits from providing such placements.

The study involved a survey, conducted in both EU countries and two US states, as well as a series of in-depth interviews with employers, entrepreneurs and stakeholders. It asked about the skills and understanding students bring to work placements, the benefits of placements and perceptions of the academy among media employers. The findings highlight a number of issues to be addressed around industry perceptions of HE and vice versa, cultural differences, the challenges presented by inappropriate expectations and the difficulties of preparing young people for a rapidly evolving sector, in which they may find themselves performing roles that do not as yet exists. The study also highlights some excellent examples of good practice and of mutually beneficial collaborations between industry and HE that offer fantastic opportunities to undergraduates and graduates alike.

This paper is presented in the context of on a larger scale, ongoing study into the effectiveness of HEIs in preparing graduates for careers in the media industries.

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