Evaluation of the Industry Placements Pilot

Newton B, Williams J, Francis R, Gloster R, Buzzeo J, Byford M, Spiegelhalter K (IES) Esmond B (iCeGS) |   | Department for Education | Dec 2018

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The Industry Placements Pilot Programme was introduced as part of government aims to reform and strengthen technical education in England. Industry placements will be an integral part of the new T Level programmes which will help learners taking classroom-based qualifications gain demonstrable technical and vocational expertise. Within the T Level programmes, placements will be of 45-60 working day duration and will offer a structured learning experience.

In autumn 2017, the Department for Education commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in partnership with the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) to undertake a process evaluation of the Industry Placements Pilot. The Department required the evaluation to: a) assess the effectiveness of different industry placement and support models in different contexts; and b) to provide evidence on implementation highlighting lessons for a full, national roll-out.

To address the research questions IES designed a largely qualitative study which included:

  • Interviews with eight national stakeholders, covering provider bodies, technical education advocates, and strategic level contacts - including the national brokerage and support organisation.
  • Interviews with a range of staff in all 21 providers as part of 3 waves of primary research over the 2017/18 academic year. These involved strategic level staff, placement coordinators, and staff involved in curriculum and placement delivery.
  • Interviews with project managers and placement brokerage staff in the national brokerage organisation across three rounds of research.
  • 152 interviews with employers who had hosted learners on placement, 32 of which were follow up interviews.
  • Interviews with 100 learners who had taken part in the placements.
  • A review of a small number of learning logs in which learners kept a record of their activities and logged the types of skills they believed they were developing as part of their placement.
  • Webinars and online forums for providers in each term. All pilot providers were invited to take part in webinars and online forums facilitated by the evaluation team which provided an action research component to the evaluation.
  • Learning events for providers in spring and summer terms. The events involved presentations from the national support organisation and evaluation team, as well as providers themselves.
  • Online forums and webinars for providers in the CDF year.
  • An online survey of learners in the spring and summer terms, completed by 177 learners.

This report synthesises the evaluation evidence, building on a series of three interim, in-house reports supplied to the Department during the evaluation.