Assessing placement students perceptions of university support through the critical incident technique

Placement students perceptions of university support


  • Carlota Ashmore-Pascua
  • Ian


Sandwich placements are a pivotal point in hospitality management education, where students can develop and exercise the skills, knowledge and attitude required for a career in the industry. However, it is common for students to experience difficulties whilst on placement, requiring the support of higher education institutions. This research explores the challenges faced by hospitality undergraduates who completed a twelve-month industry placement in 2022 and analyses their perceptions of university support by applying the critical incident technique as an underpinning theoretical approach. Face-to-face interviews were conducted to explore the critical incidents experienced by students and to understand how university support assisted in overcoming challenges. Results of the narrative analysis revealed that the most common negative critical incidents experienced by students involved placement location, conflicts with managers and colleagues, and poor programme coordination. Furthermore, whilst students felt university placement support was accurate to their requirements, a lack of experiential learning was identified, negatively affecting the overall placement experience. This study concludes that despite the challenges faced, students viewed their placement as a vital step in their learning that has improved their chances of a successful career in hospitality.