Hargreaves, Janet and Walker, Lizzie (2011) A Risky Business: preparing students for professional practice. In: Paper presentations of the 2010 University of Huddersfield Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 82-85.

The Disability Discrimination act of 2005 has mandated universities not to discriminate against students on the basis of disability. Thus people who might previously have been excluded, or excluded themselves from a desired profession because of real or perceived difficulties related to impairment are now more likely to apply and to be accepted onto courses. This challenges Higher Education policy on admissions, curriculum design and delivery.

Three funded research projects at Huddersfield and Bradford over the past four years have explored the experience of disabled students entering universities and the specific difficulties of translating inclusive practice and reasonable adjustment into placement settings outside the university.

Two tensions have been highlighted by these projects between:

performance in the relatively safe environment of the university and the world of work

the rights of disabled students to inclusion and the responsibility of the university and placement providers for risk management of public and student safety.

The work has highlighted the need for a structured pre-placement review that helps students to identify their preparedness for placement and the action planning needed to minimise risk, enabling a safe and successful outcome.

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