Education leaders gathered at the University of Stirling to showcase the Scotland-wide Making the Most of Masters (MMM) programme which uses work placements as an alternative to traditional academic Masters dissertations.
Delegates were joined by keynote speaker Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Lincoln to hear more about the innovative scheme which has now created work-based projects for almost 1,500 students from nine Scottish universities since its launch in 2011.
Rosemary Allford, MMM Project Manager at the University of Stirling, said: “Employers are increasingly looking for postgraduate students that have experience applying research in the real world. We want to support skilled postgraduates to contribute directly to research and enterprise in Scotland’s economy.
“Strong university-industry partnerships will help us take new and innovative steps in Masters provision in Scotland. This event is to celebrate our success to date and encourage more employers in Scotland to use postgraduate students’ research skills to add value to their business.”
Supported by Scottish Funding Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the programme works with employers across a number of economic sectors.
One University of Stirling student was supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to complete his Masters in Law in Corporate Social Responsibility through the programme.
Bastian Roos worked for a fish-processing company in the North of Scotland. After experiencing significant growth, they were looking for feedback on human rights compliance and potential avenues for future Corporate Social Responsibility activities.
The company facilitated Bastian’s interviews with workers and he gained insight in current human resource and supply chain management challenges and processes. These formed the basis of the student’s Masters dissertation project.
Bastian said: “It was very insightful to see how companies manage human rights in their daily operations and supply chains. I had first-hand experience of observing the need for effective communication so that the language of academia and business can work together to progress this important area. I feel that this work related project will help me in the articulation of my skills as I progress my future career.”
The event included presentations from Professor Rigby and the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) alongside a series of workshops to help push the initiative forward.