13.1.1 The experience and impact of work based and placement learning is a significant factor in developing student employability and the student experience. The University of Stirling aims to produce confident, aspirational graduates who can successfully compete in a global economy. It is also committed to achieving a minimum rate of 85% graduate level employment for undergraduates and postgraduates (Employability Strategy 2017-21 and University Strategic Plan 2016 – 21), and for all programmes by 2021 to include work based and/or work-related learning. Developing student employability not only impacts positively on the outcomes for the student, but influences the University’s ranking in higher education league tables and relevant websites.
13.1.2 The purpose of this policy is to support those developing or delivering a programme which contains work based or placement learning (WBPL) to ensure it is a positive experience for all stakeholders.
13.1.3 The policy sets out the responsibilities of staff, students, and WBPL providers to ensure that effective processes are in place to enable a high-quality learning opportunity, and to manage and mitigate any risk. Everyone involved in work based and placement learning has a responsibility to do what they can to reduce the chances of harm to the student and others.
13.2.1 For this Policy, the University has adopted the Quality Assurance Agency’s definition of work based and placement learning as outlined in its UK Quality Code for Higher Education - Chapter B3: Learning and Teaching: “Learning achieved during an agreed and negotiated period of learning that takes place outside the institution at which the full or part-time student is enrolled or engaged in learning... the learning outcomes are intended as integral parts of a programme of study. It is important that each student is supported by the institution throughout his/her placement experience, to ensure that specific learning related to the programme can be achieved.”
 It is also accepted that there may work based and placement opportunities for students within the working environment of the University of Stirling.
13.2.2 WBPL within an academic programme can be delivered in a wide variety of ways, for example short term, extended; part-time, full-time; paid, unpaid; credit bearing or not credit bearing; practice placement or internship. WBPL that is not part of an academic programme, for example part-time work which students organise themselves, falls outside the remit of this policy. The management of work based dissertations are not within the scope of this policy.
13.2.3 It is recognised that the way in which WBPL is organised and managed will vary according to specific module and programme aims and learning outcomes, and their learning, teaching and assessment strategies. Vocational programmes, such as those in nursing, social work or education may be subject to additional and specific requirements.
The UK Quality Code is currently under review and supplementary guidance is likely to be developed in work-based learning. This will be monitored by CES and Academic Quality and Governance and implications for this policy reviewed and adapted where appropriate.
13.4.1 Ensuring the safety and well-being of students when they are taking part in learning off-campus is of paramount importance, and a risk based approach should be taken when placements are being set up and monitored.
13.5.1 The Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990 state that if you are having relevant training in the UK then for health and safety purposes you are treated as an employee. Clearly the risks will vary depending on the placement concerned and any risk assessment must be appropriate to the risk, and placements abroad may have a different legal status.
13.5.2 It is the Faculty’s responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare of students when on WBPL. A risk assessment must be undertaken by the Faculty prior to the student going on placement, including in cases where the placement opportunity has been sourced by the student. A visit to all new placement providers should be undertaken by a member of staff wherever practical. A Pre-placement Checklist (Appendix 1) and a Risk Assessment Form (Appendix 2) should be completed.
13.5.3 There should be clear information provided on health and safety expectations to both WBPL providers and to students. This should be included at a student induction session and be covered in the preliminary meeting between the WBPL provider and the student.
13.5.5 There is also guidance from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association on Health and safety guidance for placement of Higher Education students
13.6.1 The Faculty must have a process in place to ensure any WBPL opportunities that have been sourced independently by the student are appropriate to the intended learning outcomes of the programme.
13.7.1 In the UK it is a legal requirement for employers to hold employer’s liability insurance and UK employer liability policies classify work experience or placement students as employees. This means that in the event of an accident at work arising from the placement provider’s negligence, the student has the same rights as the placement provider’s permanent staff. This may not be the case if the placement is abroad and the University’s insurers should be approached for advice.
13.7.2 Sole traders are not legally required to have employer’s liability insurance but as soon as they offer a placement to a student they effectively become their employers. They should be asked to take out an employer’s liability policy.
13.7.3 It is not a legal requirement in the UK for organisations to have public liability cover. However, most reputable employers should have it. This insurance protects the student against claims brought against the placement provider by third parties in the event of negligence on the part of the student.
13.7.4 The student has responsibility to act in an appropriate manner (as outlined in the Code of Student Discipline) and to keep in contact with the University to report any problems with the WBPL provider.
13.7.5 Faculties should check that WBPL providers have employer’s liability and public liability insurance as part of the approval process, and include on the standard university WBPL Agreement Form (Appendix 3).
13.8.1 Where a course of study includes a compulsory WBPL element, or where the University makes a WBPL opportunity available to students, the University will share personal data relating to the student undertaking the WBPL opportunity for the purposes of administration, communication and overall operation of the opportunity.
13.8.2 Occasionally the personal data shared with the provider may include special categories of personal data, such as health information, to ensure the WBPL provider can offer the necessary support and meet their obligations to the student.
13.8.3 All personal data is processed by the University in line with GDPR requirements and the University policy on Data Protection.
13.9.1 Risk assessments must be made for all WBPL opportunities taking place abroad. The nature and complexity of the risk assessment will vary with the type of activity intended and in many cases the work itself will not be unusually hazardous and consideration will primarily need to be given to local conditions. The assessment should be based on previous knowledge, information from the Foreign Office, travel agents and contacts in the place being visited. The Foreign Office, Reuters or the travel agent dealing with the booking will be able to provide information on the necessary vaccinations, local politics, and areas to avoid.
13.9.2 The findings and conclusions drawn from the Risk Assessment should be made familiar to all participants with any significant factors being relayed in writing whenever possible.
13.9.3 For placements outside the EU students should be aware that sharing their personal information with the WBPL provider will involve a transfer outside the EU and that the data protection laws in some overseas countries may not provide the same level of protection as the EU legislation.
Students must be briefed prior to departure and this should include:
13.10.1 The University
Is committed to:
13.10.2 University Staff
Those responsible for WBPL in Faculties will undertake the following responsibilities:
The University expects students to:
13.10.4 International Students
220.127.116.11 Tier 4 students can undertake a work placement during their studies. There are certain requirements that must be met and Faculties must ensure details of work placements are sent to the Student Immigration Team before international students undertake a work placement.
18.104.22.168 For reporting purposes UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) treat work placements and internships the same.
22.214.171.124 A work placement that is an integral and assessed as part of the programme must be reported to UKVI. The Student Immigration Team will report details of the placement to UKVI. Work placements for the University’s degree students must not constitute more than half of the total programme.
126.96.36.199 An "internship" that is an integral and assessed part of the programme should be treated in the same way as a work placement. The internship must not constitute more than half of the total programme. Details of the internship must be reported to UKVI. The Student Immigration Team will report details of the internship to UKVI.
188.8.131.52 Faculties must provide the following information to the Student Immigration Team to enable the University to report fully to UKVI:
184.108.40.206 Work placements can be paid or unpaid and can be full time, including during term time. If students hold a visa permitting employment for up to 20 hours per week, they can do this in addition to the time spent on their work placement e.g. take a part time job as well as completing their full-time work placement.
220.127.116.11 Tier 4 sponsors (the University) must continue to monitor the student’s engagement whilst on a work placement. Faculties must therefore have mechanism in place for monitoring student engagement whilst they are on a placement. Any changes must be reported to UKVI through the Student Immigration Team.
18.104.22.168 In all other circumstances (e.g. informal placements/internships that are not assessed as part of the course) international students can undertake the placement or internship only if they hold a visa permitting employment. Tier 4 students are normally subject to restrictions on employment (e.g. 20 hours per week during term time). This means that students cannot work full time during term time. We do not have to report informal placements/internships in these circumstances but students should ensure they are not working in breach of their visa conditions.
22.214.171.124 Any questions or queries should be directed to the Student Immigration Team (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Careers and Employability Service
See Careers and Employability Service information
Health and Safety
See Health and Safety information