Academic Industry Placement as a Form of Professional Development: Perceptions from Pakistan

By Roberto Bergami, Annamarie Schuller and Ameena Zafar.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies

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One of the goals of the Bologna Process is to offer higher education students with a more practically oriented educational experience as a means of enhancing employment opportunities. The provision of practically oriented education implies that academic (teachers) must be up to date with industrial processes and procedures, so these may be built into classroom teaching and learning activities. This paper reports on a pilot study conducted in Pakistan with business discipline academics on their perception of the value of industry placements as a form of professional development. For the purposes of this research, an industry placement is defined as a pre-determined period of time that an academic spends working within a chosen host firm, performing specific job related activities, on a voluntary basis. Viewing an industry placement from a multi-disciplinary perspective, this study considers issues such as: the reasons for wanting to pursue and industry placement; benefits that may be derived by the academic; the level educational institution (academic employer) support for this activity; and the preferred duration of the industry placement in the context of workplace learning. The paper uses a previously developed conceptual framework to assist in the discussion of the data, partially ‘testing’ its application and relevance to this pilot research project. The paper concludes that there is a high degree of interest in pursuing industry placement opportunities, with many benefits perceived by the participants, although there is a seemingly low level of institutional support to facilitate the materialisation of such an opportunity.

Keywords: Industry Placement, Communities of Practice, Professional Development, Capacity Building

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.87-103. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.610MB).

Dr. Roberto Bergami

Visiting Professor, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Roberto has over twenty years’ experience in the manufacturing industry, primarily within the pharmaceutical sector. He held a number of roles with an international focus in finance, sales, marketing, customer service and logistics. Roberto’s teaching spans over twenty years with experience in Higher Education, TAFE (VET) and private education providers. Currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of International Business at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, an Associate Researcher in the Centre for Strategic and Economic Studies and the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing. Roberto holds a Master in Education, a Master of Business by Research (Applied Economics) and a Ph.D. Roberto is a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of South Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic. Roberto has maintained his involvement with industry through a number of peak associations where he enjoys various grades of senior level membership. In 2002 Roberto received the State of Victoria Quarantine Award for his efforts in educating students in quarantine matters. Roberto’s main areas of research interests in international trade focus on government regulations; delivery terms (Incoterms); international payment terms; and market entry barriers. Other research interests include professional development of academics/teachers, the development of communities of practice, online teaching and online communities, migration from Emilia-Romagna (Italy) to Australia and teenage/youth dialect.

Annamarie Schuller

Victoria University, Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Annamarie has been teaching business subjects in the VET sector since 1994. Her main areas of teaching specialisations include: Law, Management, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Occupational Health and Safety. Annamarie's prior industry experience spans approximately 17 years across the transport, education, pharmaceutical and food industries. She held a number of roles including customer service, marketing, and management roles. Annamarie’s main area of academic research interest centers around teaching and learning practices, communities of practice, and teacher placement in industry. Annamarie is Ph.D candidate and an Associate Researcher of the Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Ameena Zafar

Assistant Professor, BBA Program Coordinator, Consultant/Trainer, Faculty of Management & Social Sciences, Muhammad Ali Jinnah University, Islamabad, Punjab, Pakistan

Ameena Zafar is a Ph.D. Scholar in English Education. She is currently an Assistant Professor, Convener of English, Head of the Communication Cluster, Patron of Crescendo Society and a senior member of the Consultancy at Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Her venues of study are Business Research, Business English, English for Specific Purposes, Curriculum Development and English Literature. She has eight International Journal Publications and thirteen International Conference Papers to her credit in related areas. She represents MAJU as a consultant at various institutions and corporate organizations, training new and seasoned professionals. She has a varied experience of more than twenty years in teaching Business Research, Research Methodology, Case Study Writing, Business Report Writing, Technical Report Writing, Business Communication, Communication Skills, Verbal Communication, Basic/Advanced English, Modern/Classical Drama, Modern Novel and Prose, and Modern and Classical Poetry in the undergraduate and graduate programs.