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Students presenting their Q-Step projects at City, University of London
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Students’ Q-Step projects showcased at City

The City Q-Step Centre enables students to apply their quantitative methods skills in real-world settings and learn invaluable work experience. School Marketing Executive Carl Whinder recently attended a showcase of their placement projects and sends this report

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

Having completed a 10-day work placement as part of the Q-Step scheme, 25 students from City’s School of Arts & Social Sciences took the opportunity to showcase the live projects they had been working on during their time in industry at an event held at the Pavilion in City’s University Building.

Since 2013, when City, University of London became one of 15 UK universities to have a Q-Step Centre focusing on the development of much-needed undergraduate quantitative skills, one of its primary aims has been to enable students to take part in industry-based work placements.

The aim was to not only give the students experience of applying their learning to a real-world environment, but also to allow employers to engage the knowledge and skills of City students. While 10 students took part in placement last year, the Department of Sociology, where City Q-Step Centre is based, has seen 25 students take part in placements this year with companies such as BBC Media Action, City of London Police and the Department for Education.

Samera Kousar, a second-year BSc Criminology and Quantitative Methods student, who completed a placement with the City of London Police, worked on extracting key data from fraud cases to identify trends and patterns between victims and perpetrators involved in fraud.

“The most exciting thing about the placement was to be able to look at data and analyse them to form conclusions,” she said. “Along with this, getting to interact with professionals within the field was also great and I hope to become an analyst in the future within a crime field.”

“The Q-Step scheme is great opportunity to help gain professional work experience and build networks, as well as giving the opportunity of personal development and growth.”

DI Steven Jackson of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau at City of London Police, who mentored Samera during her placement, said the scheme was “a great opportunity to help out the next generation and to work with researchers and analysts who will be so essential in the future.”

“One of the most rewarding aspects for me personally has been the secondary benefits of the project, seeing Samera’s personal development in areas such as communication, self-confidence, working with others, professionalism and positive attitude,“ he said.

Another mentor, Emily Southall from BBC Media Action, where two students from City were based, valued the opportunity the scheme afforded for the students to not only gain experience but for the host organisation to benefit from their skills.

She said: “We do a lot of quantitative research within our team and we have a vast amount of quantitative data so it was really great having the two students to work on a project and offer additional analysis for our team.”

Sociology Lecturer Dr Matt Barnes, who manages the scheme, aims to expand Q-Step next year and get even more students into placement to gain valuable skills and experience in applying what they have learnt on their course to a working environment.

Dr Barnes said:

“Over the next few years we hope to strengthen the sustainability of Q-Step at City, sharing teaching materials and placement experiences across the school and university.”

“Most importantly we want to see our students develop their statistical expertise and confidence in collecting, analysing and interpreting social data – as well as see them gain important vocational experience by applying their knowledge and skills in a professional environment via the quantitative work placements.”

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