Recording systems for tracking industry placements

This resource will help you decide how to keep track of industry placements in your organisation.  

It consists of answers to commonly asked questions. They should help you decide whether to design a tracking system yourself or choose a commercial system that meets your needs. 

Who is it for? 

Curriculum leads, subject leads, employer engagement staff, IT staff, administrators.  

How a tracking system should help you

Whichever option you choose, the information provided by your tracking system must be able to help you: 

  • support students to prepare for industry placements and during the placement 
  • manage placements proactively, and identify when to take action to maintain high quality 
  • make sure students and employers benefit fully from the industry placement experience. 

You should be able to track: 

  • which employers, location, T Level subject and occupational specialism, industry placement model (for example, day release, block release)
  • students’ progress on industry placements including expected start and end dates, action plans, targets, hours spent at the placement, work readiness assessments, and their experience of the placement 
  • opportunities for new industry placements including employer and contact details, which stage of the process they are at, and whether checks have been completed
  • outcomes of placement reviews and assessments. 

What information does the system need to track and record? 

The tracking system you use, whether a commercial system or one developed by yourself, should record information about: 

  • students 
  • employers 
  • placement start and end dates  
  • placement models – day release, block release, seasonal patterns 
  • placement objectives  
  • individual placement plans, covering all aspects of learning, as defined in the placement plan and objectives. 
  • expectations in terms of the activities students carry out and the outputs they produce, clearly linked to the occupational specialism 
  • attendance patterns and hours agreed with the employer  
  • actual attendance  
  • progress  
  • outcomes 
  • completion and close down. 

What should employers be able to input? 

Employers should be able to input objectives, tasks, activities and progress information into the system, including specific activities for their own business. 

What should it allow students to do? 

The system should allow students to: 

  • log their hours 
  • record their experience in a variety of formats including photo evidence, videos, blogs  
  • track the development of their practical skills, employability skills and behaviours 
  • complete skills assessments  
  • receive a personalised placement completion certificate with qualifying criteria built-in. 

How are some providers using recording and tracking systems? 

Systems are also being used to record and track:

  • learning outcomes 
  • completed assignments 
  • gaps in knowledge and progress against targets 
  • reflections and feedback 
  • data to map the student to an appropriate employer 
  • communication between teachers, students and employers 
  • compliance. 

How flexible does the system need to be? 

Every industry placement is unique, so your system should be flexible enough to allow information about each placement to be recorded and tracked without significant adjustments to the system or additional administration. 

For example, engineering industry placements may cover a wide range of occupational specialisms such as marine, aviation, lean and maintenance. These specialisms have significant differences but also common features. You should be able to create standard ways to record and track the common features in all engineering placements. Your system should also be able to record different information for each specialism.  

Differentiating between common features and those specific to a specialism will help you to record and track information efficiently. It will also make it easier to plan where more than one workplace may be needed to give students the full range of experience needed. 

How can the system help to assess risks and students’ needs?  

Some industry placement models could potentially create additional risks, for example: 

  • safeguarding risks where students work late, alone, out of hours, or at weekends 
  • health and safety risks because of workplace characteristics such as the use of equipment and chemicals or working in enclosed spaces 
  • logistical risks owing to geographical location  
  • financial risks arising from travel costs, uniforms etc. 

Some students may have additional needs such as reasonable adjustments in their placements. Your system should record risks and additional needs relating to the industry placements so that you can take necessary actions and monitor how effective they are. 

What should a commercial system allow us to do? 

You should check that the system allows you to: 

  • create individual placement objectives, targets, learning and action plans  
  • provide clear processes and communications for administering industry placements 
  • track whether students and employers have read and understood key documents, such as health and safety policies, risk assessment and safeguarding guidance  
  • send and respond to requests for information through simple e-forms 
  • validate students’ hours weekly 
  • produce a comprehensive outcome report for each placement 
  • access all the information recorded and tracked at any time, in user-friendly formats. 

How could we use e-portfolios and apps? 

Some T Level providers have chosen to use e-portfolios and apps to: 

  • collect student’s work in one place 
  • encourage students to keep reflective diaries and logbooks 
  • set targets 
  • provide formative feedback and identify areas for additional support 
  • produce formal reports on students’ progress and achievements, for example, for employers or parents, guardians and carers. 

Some providers use more than one system to record and track information during industry placements and for the overall T Level programme. In this scenario, it is important to check how to integrate information between systems without too much manual intervention. 

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