A recent UK Government commissioned study found concerning levels of unemployment among computing students from disadvantaged, black and minority ethnic backgrounds. The study highlighted that work experience was a factor in increased levels of graduate employment. As such, it is vital that students have equal access to such work experience. This study considers the availability of work experience to 140 computing students at two city centre UK universities. Data analysis considered socioeconomic background and ethnicity to determine if these influenced attitudes to work experience. While students' socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicity had little influence on their interest in work experience, patterns of success in gaining work experience reflected worrying graduate (un)employment patterns, with those from disadvantaged, black or minority ethnic backgrounds less able to secure work experience. These findings have serious implications for university and government policies promoting work experience and highlight the need for national interventions.
Sally, S., Taylor-Smith, E., Bacon, L., & Mackinnon, L. (2019). Equality of opportunity for work experience? Computing students at two UK universities "play the game". British Journal of Sociology of Education, 40(3), 324-339. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2018.1489219