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Have data skills will travel: one summer, 19 stories

Have data skills will travel: one summer, 19 stories

Q-Step is the 5-year national step-change intervention programme established to support more social science and humanities students to use quantitative data and analysis in their undergraduate studies. The Q-Step Centre at The University of Manchester has been working with students on politics, sociology, criminology and linguistics degree programmes to 'make numbers normal' in the classroom. The centre, one of 15 nationally, has two aims -to give more students more quantitative training by embedding data in the substantive curriculum, and to start to train our future social researchers in quantitative methods.

In this session Jackie reports on progress in the first 18-months of the Manchester Q-Step Centre, presenting experiences from our 19 summer placement students when we placed them in think-tanks, polling organisations, research consultancies, city councils, the UK Data Service and market research organisations, in London and Manchester.

Each student produced a poster demonstrating their experience; we celebrated these findings in an event entitled 'Stepping Out'. Moreover they produced briefing papers, blog posts, news articles, public presentations, a book chapter and in one case an evidence-based report that reached MPs. Some returned to their third year and chose to undertake a dissertation involving data analysis. They exceeded our, the employers, and their own expectations, setting the blueprint for 2015, when we will double the number of students, and increase the number of organisations we will place them with.

Jackie outlined how they are evaluating the placements under a bid funded under the University's CHERIL initiative, to systematically collect evidence to enable them to consider the impact of the Q-step summer placements through a project entitled: 'Summer internships -what works? Evidencing impact of undergraduate quantitative skills from the University of Manchester Q-Step Centre's Pilot Year'.


This session tells the students', and employers' stories, from our 2014 pilot year, demonstrating how data skills acquired in the classroom travel into the workplace.