Back to Contents Print Home

    Module 1: Research     Module 2: Preparing     Module 3: Negotiating     Module 4: Learning     Module 5: Surviving      Portfolio Activities     Programme Contents

Surviving the Placement


The modern workplace is located in a public context that is complicated by legislative and ethical accountability, which may impact on your host organisation. This module aims to help you become familiar with the occupational health and safety, and legal and ethical issues relevant to your placement. It also aims to assist you to deal constructively with any organisational or interpersonal relationship issues that might arise, including interpersonal conflict, as complex interpersonal relationships are part of the modern workplace. Finally, it will help you to plan in advance how to end the placement positively.

The module is divided into four sections: working safely; legal and ethical issues; managing organisational problems and interpersonal relationships; and ending the placement positively. After completing all four sections you should have:

  • Profiled the risk factors in the host organisation.
  • Identified the occupational health and safety guidelines for the host organisation, and the strategies and resources for maintaining them.
  • Identified potential legal and ethical matters of concern for the host organisation, and for its relationship with staff and clients.
  • Identified strategies for managing personal difficulties, including organisational problems, workplace conflict and stress.
  • Developed a strategy for ending the placement and the relationships with staff and clients.

You may like to make notes or comments (personal reflections) while reading through this module and completing the activities. Put these notes in your Portfolio, together with the completed activities for assessment and/or for use as a placement resource.

Working safely

There is an element of risk in every occupation or workplace environment — even in professional placements. While the employer or manager is ultimately responsible for safety at work, you need to understand the workplace risks, how the organisation’s occupational health and safety (OHS) system works and the part you have to play in workplace safety. Before reading the discussion about working safely, complete this introductory activity. Now read the discussion on workplace safety and its management to help you further identify risks and adopt strategies for working safely while on placement. After you have read the discussion, refer to the additional resources, then complete activities A & B, and put these in your Portfolio.

Legal and ethical issues

The legal and ethical issues in the workplace and occupations are also important in terms of your ability to work safely and effectively. It is important for you to be familiar with the relevant legislative and ethical frameworks that are designed to protect the organisation, its staff and clients. To familiarise yourself with these frameworks, read the discussion of legal and ethical issues that may affect you during your placement, complete the activity and put it in your Portfolio. Look at the additional resources for more information.

Managing organisational problems and interpersonal relationships

Organisational problems and interpersonal relationships can impact on the success of a work placement, especially if conflict arises. Any problems can be quite stressful, but there are strategies you can use to minimise their likelihood and to lessen their impact if they occur. This discussion about managing organisational problems and interpersonal relationships will help you identify and handle any difficulties that may arise. To help yourself further, access the resources, complete the activities on organisational and interpersonal aspects of the placement, and put them in your Portfolio.

Ending the placement positively

It is important to think about the placement as a finite thing. A lot of students really enjoy their placement. They develop good relationships and feel that they would like to go back after the placement, but often find things are not the same. Read the discussion on ending the placement positively, access the resources (you will find hints 2-6 helpful), complete the activity and put this in your Portfolio. Can you think of any other useful strategies?


You have completed Module 5 and are ready to survive and enjoy your placement!

It might be a good idea now to return to Module 2 and add to your ‘Preparing to go’ checklist.


To top of page