Background of the study
The term job placement is commonly used to refer to a type of work that is meant for those who have just completed their studies or are just about to complete. According to Reed (2008), this type of work is usually meant to give them experience on what to expect once they are employed. The type of job placement one gets into is supposed to match with their qualifications (Badke, 1004).
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The young people who get into job placements while still in school get to experience the professional working environment. Although most of the times those on job placements are not paid, the experience they acquire is very helpful to them in many ways. However, in most places, they cater for expenses such as travel for the people on job placement.
At the end of the period that one was on placement, a document to show how well the person was able to cope during the job placement is provided. During the period that a person is on placement, they have a chance to mingle with other people in that profession, therefore establishing lasting contacts that may enable them to get a job once they are through with the job placement (Babbie, 2010).
Getting into some professions may also require one to go through a period of job placement, whereby even though one is supposed to be paid, they do not receive their salary. Professions such as TV related professions require one to go through some time of training before they can start receiving their salaries.
This period can also be referred to as placement. Students at different levels go for placement at different times and the duration is also different. Those at the university level, for example, go for job placements after the first two years. They use the skills and knowledge gained during this period in a real world situation to solve the various problems that require these skills.
These placements offer students with very vital insights which can help them to be prepared for what to expect in the job market. Some companies also opt to assimilate the people they get on placement, making it advantageous for the people in such positions.
Statement of the problem
In the contemporary world, the number of job opportunities is decreasing by the day because there are very many people clearing from colleges at any given time. In contrast to this, the number of people seeking these job opportunities keeps on increasing hence making most able and qualified people remain unemployed.
This situation has made many governments to seek ways of making these people busy by looking for alternative ways to help them. This is where the issue of work placements arose. Work placement is a professional method through which young people are assisted to find a job that matches their skills.
In other words, job placements aim at making sure that the right individual secures the right job depending on his or her qualifications. In many instances, job placements are usually a voluntary kind of work although there are some organizations that offer wages to these people.
According to Leigh (2010), work placements gives a chance to the young people to explore further about a certain career that they may wish to pursue in future. He has observed that most of these work placements offers a practical experience. In addition, he has claimed that young people have a chance to ask the other people who have been in this field for a long time questions touching on a career that they want to follow.
Pulliam (2008) says that during work placement unemployed young people get information on labor market conditions, job requirements, possibilities to develop one’s career and the like directly from those in such careers for a long time. He has further stated that some of the distinguished chief executive officers in the world today are a product of work placement programs.
Neugebauer (2009) argues that work placements should be made compulsory for all those seeking employment in the future. This is because the country wants to develop experts in all sectors of economy so that they can reduce the number of people working for the sake of making ends meet and not because of passion they have for that career.
A number of countries have initiated this program of job placements to cater for the increased demand for job opportunities. However, little attention has been paid on what happens to these young people during and after work placement program (Ploeg, 2002).
In addition, very few have ever bothered to ascertain the feelings of the employees and students under work placements. The big question that needs careful attention is whether these placements programs are of any benefit to the participants. As a result, this research seeks to ascertain what is the significance and relevance of work placements in enhancing academic success and future career prospects.
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Aims and objectives of the study
Aims and objectives
This research is generally concerned with finding out what is the significance and relevance of work placements in enhancing academic success and future career prospects. It is generally believed that work placements have a significant impact on the academic success and future career prospects of the participant.
This research will seek to identify the ways in which work placements help improve the academic success of the participants. Besides, the research will try to find out the ways in which work placements affects or shapes the future career prospects of the participants. To achieve this objective, the research will focus on achieving some specific objectives that are listed below.
Specific aims and objectives
The specific objectives that this research seeks to achieve are as follows:
- To find out the meaning of work placements.
- To explore what led to the development of work placements
- To explore the most appropriate time for people to engage in work placements.
- To explore why work placements may not be suitable sometimes.
- To explore the difference of undertaking work placements in large and in small organizations.
- To explore the ways in which people find placements.
- To explore the credentials required for candidates to succeed in acquiring work placements.
- To explore the job related skills that work placements offer the participants.
- To explore ways in which work placements enhances academic success of the participants.
- To explore how work placements help participants identify their future careers.
- What are work placements?
- What led to the development of work placements?
- What is the most appropriate time to engage in work placements? In the course of study of after study?
- What makes work placements not such a good idea sometimes?
- How does having work placements in large organization differ from having them in small organizations?
- How does one find placements?
- What are the credentials for joining work placements?
- What job related skills does placements equip participants with?
- How does work placements help enhance academic success?
- How do work placements help participants identify their future careers?
Methodology: data collection strategy
To gather information concerning the question of enquiry, a relevant group of participants will be identified. Two groups of people will be considered: that is, those already in work placements and current employees who have ever been engaged in work placements and those who have never participated in work placements. Then a sample of study will be selected from these two groups.
These participants will be interviewed concerning their views about work placements and how work placements enhance academic success and future career prospects (Merriam, 2009). To obtain this information from the respondents, interview questions will be used (Fowler, 2002). The answers given by the respondents will be taken for analysis. Interview questions will be designed that will help answer the research questions.
Qualitative and quantitative approaches
According to Harrell (2009), using qualitative method is useful to a researcher because an individual is in a position to have a holistic view of events that he or she is researching on.
Moreover, Pulliam (2008) has stated that qualitative method offers flexible ways of carrying out data collection, analysis and interpretation. He suggests that qualitative method allows the researcher to interact with the subjects in their terms. He says this is very useful because the researcher is able to get first hand information.
Qualitative research is a method of enquiry that gathers in-depth understanding of how people behave and why they behave the way they do (Huberman, 1994). The method seeks to answer the question how and why people behave in a particular manner (Lindlof, 2011).
To gather information in qualitative research, such methods as structured interview, observation, and analysis of documents and materials among other are used by the researcher. According to Alvesson (1996), the use of qualitative research is advantageous in the following ways: it is flexible to follow unexpected ideas during research and explore processes effectively and is also useful in studying social learning et cetera.
According to Newman and Benz (1998), Quantitative research on the other hand, investigates social phenomena using statistical and mathematical models.
The method tries to interpret empirical data using mathematical expressions. This method only applies to a particular case and does not generalize the phenomena (Silverman, 2010). Every attempt to generalize will be regarded as hypothesis which is subject to prove.
In this case, both techniques will be used. In the application of qualitative approach, the findings will be stated in qualitative terms (Axinn, 2006). For example, students who participate in work placements perform better in their exams that those that do not participate or participation in work placements equips the participants with the necessary skills in their future careers.
The quantitative research will be investigating the mathematical relationship between participation in work placements and academic success and enhancement in future career prospects.
Method used to collect data and reasons for its selection
The methods selected for use in this study are interview and observation methods.
Interview method: According to Neuman (2006), the interview method involves the researcher interacting with the respondents on one on one basis. According to Sapsford and Jupp (2006, pg. 93), interview could either be telephone interview or face to face interview employing an interview schedule.
In the case of face to face interview, a standard schedule is used for each respondent, in which the questions have the same wording and are asked in the same order. The ability of the interviewer to vary the wording of questions or the order in which they are asked is strictly limited (Kothari, 2008).
According to Neuman (2006), for telephone interview, there is a variant on the face-to-face interview using a schedule but conducted on the telephone. This method is selected for this study because of its speed and comparative cheapness.
Observation method: According to Kumar (2008, pg.78), the observation method is very important techniques of data collection in studies relating to behavioral sciences. The method implies the use of the use of the eyes rather than of the ears and the voice on scrutinizing collection behavior (Cohen, 2007).
How methods answer the research questions: the questions used in the interview are usually set to answer the research question. They will be aimed at helping the researcher gather information relevant to answering the research questions. The observation will also be guided by the research questions.
The researcher will observe the behaviors of the employees and they work and point out the skills that could have been acquired via internship. Students will also be observed as they conduct their studies and difference be noted between those who have participated in work placements and those who have not.
Issues confronted in accessing the population. First the challenge likely to face the researcher during data collection is to get participants that are willing to be interviewed. Secondly, some interview question may be very personal and the respondents may not be comfortable to answer them.
Time may also be a constraint since the researcher will be working with the respondent’s convenience. Since most of the respondents work schedules are not easily predictable, the respondents may not show up when needed.
Specific sites to be used: since there are different groups to be interviewed, the sites for the data collection will be different. First, students in higher education institutions will be the participants in the study. For observation to be carried out, the observer must be where the respondents are and observe them as they conduct their normal duties. Students will be observed while in their classes and their participation in learning noted. Employees will be observed as they do their work.
The whole population will consist of students in a specified institution of higher learning and employees in some selected sectors. The participants will be selected from these groups. The sampling frame will consist of 25 students in higher institutions and 25 current employees in the selected sectors. A sample will be selected from this sampling frame and used in the study.
Impact of researcher on the information collected
The impact of the researcher on the data collected depends on the level of knowledge on data collection. This research is conducted by people with vast experience in research and data collection. However, care will be taken to ensure there is no biasness and that the researcher does not give his own opinion about the study.
Since this topic of study is an area where most people have experience in, there is likelihood of the researcher distorting respondents’ information by including his own opinion (Cummings, 2005).
Constraints in information collection
According to Coghlan (2005), researchers encounter numerous problems in their work. He contends that some of the problems encountered are manmade while others are natural and therefore a researcher has to do that he can to overcome them.
For this research, the process of information collection is likely to be affected by a number of factors, some of which are discussed in this section. The first constraint is time. To collect information from all the specified respondents requires much time (Creswell, 2003). It is hard to predict the exact time that will taken to interview all the respondents.
Time planning will therefore be a constraint. Secondly, selecting the questions that the respondents will answer comfortably is a challenge. Some questions may require the respondents to give personal information which they may not be comfortable to give.
Data analysis strategy
The data collected will be analyzed via discourse analysis approach where the responses given by the interviewees will be checked on the basis of the language used (Carpineto, 2004). The first response to be checked is the perception of the students and employees on the impact that engagement in work placements has on academic success and future job prospects.
The language used in different points in response to this question will be analyzed (Laurel, 2003). The points will therefore be classified as either strong or weaker point based on the language and the emphasis that the interviewees will attach to them. The strong point will mean that it has a significant influence on the teacher practices.
The responses for all the interview questions will be checked and their strengths determined. A strong response will mean that the point has a significant influence of the teachers’ practices or performance. A weak point will mean that the point does not have a significant influence of the teacher’s practices. The quality of a point, as either strong or weak point, will depend on the emphasis that the interviewee will put on the point.
According to Sherri (2008), a research schedule is a guide that helps the researcher understands how to go about carrying out his or her research. That is, the researcher outlines the stages he or she wants to follow in the course of carrying out that specific research. Teddlie (2009) argues that lack of a research schedule may result in the skipping of many important steps that would have made such a research a success.
The research will take two months which will enable the researcher to collect the relevant information. Since it is hard to estimate the exact time to be used to interview all the respondents, two months is taken as the maximum time that it can take. The first week will be used to call and visit the respondents in order to book appointments with them.
The second two weeks will be used to interview the respondents and making observations in their work places and schools. The fifth and sixth week will be set aside for more data collection from the respondents. This is because some respondents may not be available when booked for the interview. The last two weeks will be for compiling, analyzing, interpreting and presenting data.
Carrying out a research is very important because it helps in unearthing of some ideas and concepts that had not known prior to such a research. For instance the work placement has not had many people writing about it and therefore, it would be paramount if more people wrote on this topic.
Work placement as observed is an idea that needs a lot of emphasis to be placed on because it is helping more people get exposure to the job market while still in school
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