Concurrent Undergraduate Study and Industry Experience - The Australian Experience

Pertubuhan Ukur Jurutera & Arkitek
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
16th Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors Congress, 2012, pp. 1 - 14
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Undergraduate education in Quantity Surveying (QS) and Construction Management (CM) in Australia has traditionally incorporated concurrent industry experience as an important requisite prior to graduation. This has been primarily driven by accrediting professional associations but most universities have also recognized the value of this cooperative approach to education with industry. However, in recent years many universities have become concerned about the amount of time that students are spending in industry employment to the point where, for some students, their employment takes precedence over their academic studies. Past research has shown that working long hours has a negative effect on the study patterns of undergraduate students. This paper presents the results of research undertaken to examine the amount of time that Quantity Surveying and Construction Management students actually spend engaged in paid work during semester time and the impact on their studies. The methodology for the research was based on two separate questionnaire surveys distributed to undergraduate Quantity Surveying and Construction Management students at 7 universities across Australia. The questionnaires focused on the nature and extent of their paid work while enrolled in full-time study. The results indicate that students in the early stages of their program tend to undertake casual work that is not related to their degree but move to construction industry employment in the later stages of their program. The research found that students were spending an average of 18 hours per week in industry employment with this average increasing to over 23 hours in their final year. A number of students were spending well over 30 hours per week in industry employment. The implications of the extent of this concurrent industry employment are discussed.
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