All postgraduate diploma students will be required to complete a successful placement.
The academic courses of the OE and OESE programmes predominantly introduce theoretical ideas relating to science and education. The field courses in the Professional Development Programme (PDP) are designed to provide the opportunity to explore these ideas in the outdoors whilst developing some personal competence in work commonly associated with outdoor and environmental education. Therefore, for students to develop there must be a significant element of direct involvement in teaching and leading outdoors. To achieve this and to facilitate direct experience of the outdoor sector, all students (full time/part time) undertake a 20 day/four-week (or equivalent) professional placement.
The placement gives students an opportunity to put theory into practice while engaging with and learning from experienced experts and facilitators. These opportunities have been invaluable for many students, and organisations have noted the numerous benefits of hosting a student placement as well.
Students will broaden their experience of a variety of approaches to, and styles of, teaching outdoors and gain insights into working in educational environments. Placement organisations range from Outdoor Education & Learning Centres, environmental charities, community projects, personal development programmes and education settings (early years, schools, higher and further education and many more. Placements are offered through a partnership between placement organisations, the University and you as the student.
My placement opened my eyes to a whole new world of outdoor experiences. I saw the profound liberation the outdoors can offer vulnerable young people and the incredible community environment [my placement organization] fostered. I was made to feel part of the family from the very beginning and was given chances to lead sessions, observe sessions and listen to the young people open up about the challenges they are facing. It has been an incredibly thought provoking, eye-opening and valuable experience and I will continue volunteering with them for as long as I can!