This survey study examined the impact of work placement in career development in quantity
surveying practices. The principal aim of the research was to provide a composite
comprehensive description of the work placement educational approach as well as a
profession development as experienced by of quantity surveying employers by presenting the
issues, benefits and drawbacks associated with the approach. To keep firms engaged in the
program, the study canvassed employers’ perspectives on the work placement service with a
view to improving program effectiveness to contribute in career development.
The research design was survey design in nature. The data was gathered through
questionnaires with senior representatives of the quantity surveying profession. The primary
concern was to gather rich and deep data which would allow a credible account of the
approach to be composed from the employers’ perspective. The design recognised the
limitations of the research and acknowledges that the findings are not exhaustive.
The participants reported highly positive experiences of employing work placement students
and that the approach works well in practice. It emerged, however, that smaller practices
experienced some difficulties in securing placement students and that the larger quantity
surveying practices and construction companies were better placed to recruit placement
students. The participants expected the placement student to be capable of arraying out basic
measurement tasks under supervision within a team structure to support the production of a
range of tender and cost planning documents.
The participants reported that the learning institutions, in general, did not maintain a
background presence and allowed the participants a high degree of autonomy in managing
the students’ experience. They maintained a high degree of control and supervision over the
students and were aware of their status as learners. The participants felt that the work
placement approach provided valuable opportunities to recruit short term staff and vet them
as potential full-time employees. They reported few problems which would not be
encountered in employing young staff in any case. In general they consider work placement
graduates to be more employable than their full time equivalents.
Firms indicated they wanted concise and easy to understand information about new education
initiatives and more support to understand program responsibilities that was useful to them.
Firms made it clear that they required more support to understand work placement
responsibilities workplace assessment log books and feedback forms. Ensuring students were
prepared for work placement and matching students and firm were also identified as areas of
The principle conclusion is that there is a strong argument for adopting and implementing a
work placement approach in quantity surveying education courses as well as a means of
career development.

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