Student work placements as a focus for building partnerships between universities and sustainable development stakeholders

Gill Davidson, Peter Glaves, Richard Kotter, Justine Wilkinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Department of Geography at Northumbria University has run a successful (and expanding) work placement module for a number of years now, which seeks to work with external partners and stakeholders to enhance employability of prospective graduates, and to contribute to the capacity of the partner organisations in terms of selected mini-projects. These are flexible in set up and execution, but with a required report output for the placement host, as well as a reflective portfolio for assessment of the students. A significant strand has been on sustainability projects, including green travel surveys, biodiversity mapping, marketing, and feasibility project research, working for instance with business parks, social enterprises and logistics companies. This paper reviews the key methods of engagement with these partner organisations, and the way that students are selected, placed, coached and assessed. It identifies some of the challenges and risks involved in the process, and critically explores how even small exploratory and applied projects can make a difference regarding engagement by a university department with external stakeholders at city/regional (and beyond) and societal level, and effectively foster understanding through a reflective process of student learning and assessment of the nature of environmental, social and economic challenges in promoting more sustainable practices in cities and societies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging Stakeholders in Education for Sustainable Development at University Level
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Luciana Brandli
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-26732-6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Publication series

NameWorld Sustainability Series
PublisherSpringer International


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