Growing Experience: A Review of Undergraduate Placements in Computer Science


The final quarter of 2013 saw the fastest increase in UK technology sector business for over four years, and 44% of UK technology firms were planning to hire more staff in 2014. Despite this, the computer science graduates who are fundamental to this growth show the highest level of unemployment of all students six months after leaving university. The reasons for this are complex, but time and again research and employers point to undergraduate work placements as an effective method for improving employment outcomes in computing. And yet the current supply of placements outstrips demand. This report seeks to understand this apparent paradox, to make sense of supply and demand, and to make recommendations for future research and policy.

We surveyed forty Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the UK about the quality and quantity of current computing placement activity, and explored in depth their views, working practices and their perception of the barriers to student uptake. To complement these findings, we sought insight from three major technology employers.

The report features case studies from the University of Kent, Edinburgh Naiper University, Imperial College London, Northumbria University, University of Ulster, Lancaster University, e-placement Scotland, Aston University, Aberystwyth University, and Huddersfield University.

Growing Experience: A Review of Undergraduate Placements in Computer Science

Authors: David Docherty and Olivia Jones with Inga Sileryte
Published: 14th January 2015

Extended Case Studies:

Building relationships with business for organic growth of placements

Q&A: My Computer Science placement experience at CERN

Related Pages:

Blog from Olivia Jones on the report

Quality Placements

NCUB Research Reports

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