ISO accreditation for student placement schemes
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The Co-operative Education Centre, the executive arm supporting the IAS and the CES, has successfully implemented a Quality Management System in compliance with the ISO requirements. "Our mission is to offer the best concurrent education for the students. We do our best to set up a quality management system to safeguard the quality of the two internship schemes we offer," said Professor C H Chan, Director of the Co-operative Education Centre, "Not only do we have a set of goals that meet international standards. We also make sure that these goals or objectives are delivered through a set of procedures, or a mechanism."The Centre has achieved many of its quality objectives, and in some areas, surpassed the set targets. The Centre set out to attain a client satisfaction level of 70 % for both schemes in 2003, a conservative, but appropriate, target level since the CES is only a pilot run and the IAS just extended beyond the Pearl River Delta. In the end, survey findings revealed that more than 90 % of students and 85.4 % of industrial partners are satisfied with what they have learned or how they have benefited from the schemes. Other factors, such as staff commitment and enthusiasm, also contribute significantly to the success of the accreditation exercise. "Obviously they are impressed by our commitment to the schemes," said Professor Chan. Launched in 2000, the IAS is a summer placement exercise which gives second year students practical experience in an industrial setting. Last summer, 357 students were placed in 113 industrial enterprises with plants in Hong Kong and mainland China. Each student spent two months in an industrial setting to complete a project.
Following the success of the IAS, the CES, a one-year placement programme with an industrial partner commenced in 2003. It is offered to third year students. The first batch of 54 CES students graduated in December 2003, and some 50 % of them managed to secure permanent employment with their placement companies.
To assure quality and to uphold the standards of the two schemes, each participating company is required to designate a mentor to oversee the day-to-day work of the student, while the University assigns a supervisor to visit the student on site, monitor his progress and evaluate his performance.