New MA for work consultants

July 3, 1998

The successor to the work placement has arrived at Lancaster University, where postgraduates on a new arts course are offered to employers on a consultancy basis.

John Wakeford, director of Independent Studies who devised the Consultant MA, has already got big names such as Blackwells, Penguin and the BBC involved. The reason, he said, was that old forms of work placements and work experience were failing to equip students for the modern work environment.

"Work placement is a totally discredited way of learning," Professor Wakeford said. "Not only is it a passive and unstimulating experience providing insufficient challenge, it is inadequate preparation for emerging employment patterns." This was particularly true in the arts, he added, which was the fastest-growing sector of the economy.

The new MA is a three-way agreement between the student, the client or employer, who sets the problem, and an academic supervisor. The parameters of the project, the timing and the desired outcome are all set by the employer who merely pays for the project expenses.

What really sets the scheme apart from traditional work experience is that the student is placed in a completely different relationship to a real-world problem, Professor Wakeford said.

"Skills at the business end are increasingly in demand in the arts," he said. "Our consultants gain a portfolio of skills and at the same time the university forms strategic partnerships with industry and the community."

Once a consultancy project has been approved - Lancashire Literary Festival, for example, is hoping to get a student to revamp the business side of its event - an academic supervisor will oversee the project.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns