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IMPACT OF STUDENTS INDUSTRIAL WORK


EXPERIENCE SCHEME (SIWES) ON
DEVELOPMENT OF GRADUATE EMPLOYABILITY
SKILLS
ARTICLE JULY 2011

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University of Nigeria
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Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

IMPACT OF STUDENTS INDUSTRIAL WORK EXPERIENCE SCHEME (SIWES) ON


DEVELOPMENT OF GRADUATE EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS
BY
UKWUEZE F. N.
Department of Vocational teacher Education,
University of Nigeria Nsukka.
Email: frederick.ukwueze@unn.edu.ng

Abstract
The implementation of the students industrial work experiences (SIWES) program in
Nigerian higher institutions is aimed at empowering the students practically in relation to
their professional course of study. This paper evaluates the extent to which this program
has impacted on students viability in the job market after graduation. Three research
questions were used to guide the study on a sample of 600 students drawn from relevant
faculties of a university and a polytechnic in south eastern Nigeria. The results show that
greater level of employability skills is achievable through fruitful participation in SIWES
program.
Introduction
Growing public demand and legislative expectations for accountability in the past two decades
have made it imperative that higher education administrators and researchers pay attention to the
potential impact of student work programmes on skill development, which in turn, impacts
directly on national development objectives. Okpor and Hassan (2012) opined that if Vocational
Technical Education is to be meaningful and successful in Nigeria, then relationships are needed
between public and private sectors to partner effectively with Vocational Technical Education
and skill acquisition programmes. Students Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) is a skill
development program designed to prepare students of Nigerian tertiary institutions for transition
from the college environment to work, (Akerejola 2008). Oyedele (1990) also states that work
experience is an educational program in which students participate in work activities while
attending school. This work experience program gives students the opportunity to be part of an
actual work situation outside the classroom. The impact of Students Industrial Work Experience
(SIWES) has thus, been a cause of concern to education and economic planners, particularly with

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

respect to graduate employment. There are also mixed concerns about how much of it that is
actually helpful to students academic performance and job readiness after graduation. While
some institutions and programs permit SIWES for only three months, others go for up to one
year. There has been several research literatures, in the area of student work experience and its
impact on student development of fitness for the challenges of the job market. A review of
literature reveals that, although research questions raised are quite straightforward, the answers
had been controversial. It all depends on which outcomes are measured (Furr and Elling, 2000).
For every study which postulates the benefits of students work experience, there is an equally
compelling study purporting the exact opposite (Aper, 1994).
Olugbenga (2009) carried out a survey on the views of students in the three departments of the
School of Applied Science, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria about the adequacy of the skills
acquired during their participation in SIWES. From the data collected, he concluded that many
of the students suggested that the skills acquired are inadequate. This according to him was
because of the short duration and lack of modern facilities in their place of industrial training.
Ugwuanyi and Ezema (2010) noted that SIWES plays a significant role in human resource
development in Nigeria. Aderonke (2011) in her study examined SIWES and the dynamics of
sustainable skills acquisition and utilization in Nigeria with a view to determining the viability or
otherwise of government continuing investment in the scheme. She concluded that SIWES is a
good strategy for sustainable skill development and utilization in Nigeria.
Wodi and Dokubo (2009) evaluates the extent to which the agencies involved in the operation
and management of SIWES function to achieve the objectives of the programme. Lack of
adequate supervision, non signing of necessary materials like ITF Form 8 and students logbooks at their places of attachment, difficulties of students in getting placement, unnecessary
delay in the payment of students and supervisors allowance among others were areas of
weaknesses revealed. A limitation of these studies is the lack of data on job readiness of the
students as a result of the work experience.
Post-graduation career success, however, has typically been defined in terms of the likelihood of
receiving a full time job offer after graduation. This is only achievable when there is evidence of
employability skills acquisition from the programme. The present study measured the level of
relevant and necessary employability skills acquired for full time job immediately after
graduation. It is an exploratory effort to identify the impact of student industrial work experience
on their employment prospects.
A. Research Questions
This study answered the following research questions:
(1) What is the effect of Students Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) on generic, technical and
resource skills of participants
(2) What is the effect of Students Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) on personal qualities and
interpersonal skills of participants.

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

Hypotheses 1
There are no significant differences between the responses of those who trained in public
institutions and their private sector counterparts with regard to the impact of SIWES.

METHOD
Design of the study
A survey research design was adopted for the study.
Area of the study
The study was conducted in University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Institute of Management and
technology Enugu. These are first generation institutions of their kind in south eastern Nigeria.
The choice of the two categories of institutions for study was considered for understanding the
effect of the programme on both the university and polytechnic students.

Population for the study


Population for this study was 12,000, consisting of 1000 students from Agriculture, 2500
students from Engineering, 500 students from Education (VTE), all 2010 graduating students of
University of Nigeria Nsukka; and 4000 students from Engineering and technology, 1500
students from Education (technical) and 2500 students from Management Sciences from Institute
of Management and Technology Enugu. The choice of the three faculties from each of the two
schools was because they contribute the majority of the students who participate in the SIWES
programme.
Sample for study
A total of 600 students, were randomly selected for study: 100 students from each faculty in each
institution.
Instrument for data collection
Data was gathered through a descriptive survey instrument, (questionnaire). The instrument was
validated by three experts in the field. Cronbach Alpha technique was used to determine the
internal consistency of the questionnaire items using ten sample subjects. A coefficient of 0.66
was obtained.

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

Data collection and analysis techniques


Three sets of survey items regarding students work skill experiences capable of enhancing
employment prospects, were presented to the students. Each item was presented with a fourpoint Likert-type response format with 1 being strongly disagree and 4 being strongly agree. In
the survey, students were asked to indicate for each item, their perception of how much of each
skill they acquired during the industrial work experience. Completed instruments were directly
collected from respondents. Data was analysed using mean and t-test statistics at 0.05 level of
significance.
RESULTS
Research Question 1:
What is the effect of Students Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) on generic, technical and
resource skills of participants?
The data needed to generate answer for this research question are presented below.
Table 1: Mean Ratings for Generic, Technical and Resource Skills
S/N
1.

2
3.
4
5

6
7
8

Skill Aspects Acquired


Reading: Locates, understands, and interprets written information in prose
and documents, including
manuals, graphs, and schedules to perform tasks,
learn from text by determining the main idea or
essential message
Writing: Communicates thoughts, ideas, information,
and messages in writing creates documents such as letters, directions,
manuals, reports, graphs and flow chart.
Mathematics/Arithmetic: performs basic computations and approaches
practical problems by choosing appropriately from a variety of
mathematical techniques.
Listening: Receives, attends to, interprets, and responds to verbal
messages and other cues such as body language in ways that are
appropriate to the purpose.
Speaking: Organizes ideas and communicates oral messages appropriate
to listeners and situations, participates in conversation, discussion, and
group
presentations.
Acquires and Evaluates Information: Identifies
need for data, obtains it from existing sources or creates it, and evaluates
its relevance and accuracy.
Uses Computers To Process Information: Employs computers to
acquire, organize, analyze
and communicate information.
Creative/Innovative Thinking
Generates new ideas, uses imagination freely, combines ideas or
information in new ways, makes connections between seemingly unrelated
ideas
and reshapes goals.
Decision Making: Specifies goals and constraints,

Mean

SD

REMARK

2.94

1.28

Agree

3.08

1.25

3.14

1.32

Agree

2.90

1.30

Agree

2.72

1.34

Agree

2.10

1.27

Disagree

3.24

1.46

Agree

3.57
3.36

1.43
1.54

Agree
Agree

Agree

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

10

11
12
13
14

15

16
17

18
19
20
21

22
23

generates alternatives, considers risks and evaluates


and chooses best alternatives
Problem Solving: Recognizes that a problems,
identifies possible reasons for the discrepancy and
devices and implements a plan of action to resolve it. Evaluates and
monitors progress and revises plan as indicated by findings.
Seeing Things In The Minds Eye: Organizes and
processes symbols, pictures, graphs, objects and other information.
Knowing How To Learn: Recognizes and can use
learning techniques to apply and adapt new knowledge and skills in both
familiar and changing situations.
Reasoning: Discovers a rule or principle underlying the relationship
between two or more objects and applies it when solving a problem.
Understands System: Knows how social, organizational and
technological system work
and operates effectively within them
. Monitor and Corrects Performance: Distinguishes trends, predicts
impacts on system operations, diagnoses deviations in systems and
takes necessary action to correct performance. Creates documents such as
letters, directions, manuals, reports, graphs and flow chart.
Select Technology: Judges which set of procedures, tools or machines,
including computers and their programs will produce the desired results.
Applies Technology to Task: Understand overall
intent and proper procedures for setting up and operating machines,
including computers and their
programming.
Maintain and Troubleshoot Technology:
Prevents, identifies or solve problems in machines,
computers and other technologies.
Manages Time: Selects relevant, goal related
activities, ranks them in order of important allocates
time and prepares and follows schedules.
Manages Money: Uses or prepares budget, making
cost and revenue forecast, track budget performance and makes
appropriate adjustments.
Manages Materials and Facility Resources: Acquires stores, allocates
and distributes materials,
supplies, parts, equipment, space or final products in order to make the
best use of them.
Manages Human Resources: Assesses knowledge and skills and
distributes work accordingly, valuates performance and provides
feedback.
Manages Risks: Identifies, assesses, analyzes and
organizes risk.

3.38

1.36

Agree

2.71

1.51

Agree

2.94

1.41

Agree

3.08

1.31

Agree

3.57

1.37

Agree

3.40

1.46

Agree

3.53

1.44

Agree

3.54

1.44

Agree

3.27

1.26

Agree

1.65

1.29

Disagree

1.52

1.32

Disagree

2.80

1.26

Agree

1.80

1.29

Disagree

1.25

1.46

Agree

The data represented in table 1 above revealed that 18 out of 23 items on the levels of generic
and technical skills acquired by SIWES participants have their mean scores ranging from 2.71 to
3.57 which indicate that most of the respondents experienced positive impact of the programme.
The participants scored low on management skills, (items 19, 20, 22, 23). They also scored low
on acquisition and evaluation of information, (6).

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

Research Question 2
What is the effect of Students Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) on personal qualities and
interpersonal skills of participants?
The data needed to generate answers for this research question are presented below:
Table 2: Mean Ratings for Personal Qualities and Interpersonal Skills
S/N
1

7
8
9
10
11
12

Skill Aspects Acquired


Responsibility: Exerts a high level of effort and
perseverance toward goals attainment. Work hard to become excellent at
doing tasks by setting high
standards, paying attention to details, working well and displaying a
high level of concentrations.
Self-Esteem: Believes in own self-worth and
maintains a positives view of self, demonstrates
knowledge of own skills and abilities, is aware of impact on others, and
knows own emotional capacity and needs and how to address them.
Sociability: Demonstrates understanding, friendliness, adaptability,
empathy and politeness in new and ongoing group settings. Asserts self
in familiar and unfamiliar social situations,
relates well to others and takes an interest in what
others say and do.
Self-Management: Assesses own knowledge skills and abilities
accurately, set well-defined and realistic personal goals, monitors
progress toward
goal attainment and motivates self through goal
achievement, exhibits self control and respond to
feedback unemotionally and non-defensively and is a self starter.
Integrity/Honesty: Can be trusted. Display high
standards of ethical conduct and understands the impact of violating
these standards on an organization, self and others. Is trustworthy, a
refusal to lie, steal, or mislead in any way.
Conscientiousness: Display a high level of effort and commitment
towards performing work,
demonstrates high standards of attendance, punctuality, enthusiasm,
vitality, and optimism in approaching and completing tasks.
Ability to work without supervision: Works with
minimal supervision, is motivated to achieve and
demonstrates responsible obstacles.
Work Safety: Awarenesss of personal and group health and safety
practices and procedures, and act in accordance with these.
Participates as a Member of a Team: Works
cooperatively with others and contributes to group
with ideas, suggestion and effort.
Teaches Others: Help others learn needed
knowledge and skills, identifies training need and
supplies job information to help others.
Serves Clients/Customers: Work and mmunicates
with client and customers to satisfy their expectations.
Exercises Leadership: Communicates thoughts,
feelings, and ideas to justify a position, encourages,
persuades, convinces, or otherwise motivates an
individual or groups, including responsibly
challenging existing procedures, policies or authority.

Mean

SD

REMARKS

3.25

1.76

Agree

3.88

1.87

3.62

1.10

Agree

3.74

1.96

Agree

3.23

1.09

Agree

3.08

1.14

Agree

3.92

1.18

Agree

3.47

1.13

Agree

3.72

1.13

Agree

3.41

1.14

Agree

3.55

1.03

Agree

3.65

1.11

Agree

Agree

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

13
14

Negotiates: Works toward agreements that may involve exchanging


specific resources or resolving
divergent interest.
Work with Cultural Diversity: Works well with
men and women and with variety of ethnic, social or educational
backgrounds.

2.60

1.05

Agree

2.43

1.93

Agree

The data represented in table 2 above revealed that all the items on personal qualities and
interpersonal skills showed high mean scores which indicate that most of the respondents agreed
to the positive impact of the programme on their personal development.
Hypotheses 1
There are no significant differences between the responses of those who trained in public
institutions and their private sector counterparts with regard to the impact of SIWES
The data needed to prove this hypothesis was from SPSS t-test output presented below:

Table 3: t-test output


Paired Samples Statistics
Mean
Pair 1

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

VAR00001

4.4922

18

1.95512

.46083

VAR00002

3.9656

18

1.95608

.46105

Paired Samples Correlations


N
Pair 1

VAR00001 & VAR00002

Correlation
18

Sig.

.709

.001

Paired Samples Test


Paired Differences

Mean
Pair 1

VAR00001 - VAR00002

.52667

Std.
Deviation
1.49183

Std. Error
Mean
.35163

95% Confidence
Interval of the
Difference
Lower

Upper

-.21520 1.26854

t
1.498

df

Sig. (2-tailed)

17

Table 3 above shows the result of a t-test conducted on the items for students who worked in
public institutions and those who worked in private establishments to find if they differ
significantly on their program experience. The result showed that those in public institutions had

.153

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

a higher average score than those who served in private institutions (public: M=4.49, SD=1.96;
private: M=3.97, SD=1.96); t (17) =1.5, p>.05. Thus, while indicating the extent to which they
have gained a list of skills through involvement in SIWES, those who were posted to public
institutions reported more positive gains than those posted to private sector organizations.

DISCUSSION
Based on the analysis of the data above certain findings were made.
Research question one deals with the level of generic and technical skills received by the SIWES
participants. The data given in Table 1 show that very few students failed to acquire practical
work experience in the area of general resource management (time, money, human resources and
risks). They also failed to grasp the technique of acquiring and evaluating necessary and relevant
information as part of their business ventures in industrial trainings. Much of the available
literature is supported by this result. Aderonke (2011), reiterated the submission of the
Manpower Service Commission (1981) which described training, as a planned process to modify
attitude, knowledge or skill behaviour through learning experience to achieve effective
performance in the activity or range of activities. Its purpose, in the work situation and future
expectation, is to develop the abilities of the individual and so satisfy the current and future
manpower needs of the organization and the society. The author further stated that students who
undertake SIWES programmes are therefore better exposed to new technological or technical
skills. This finding is also supported by Cole (1997) that training in skills is related to exposure
to job challenges and competence level of the job holder.
Research question 2 focused on SIWES participants social and personal development
experience. They showed general improvement in critical thinking skills, and in their interactions
with different groups, and various communities, of workers. This confirms Curtiss and
Nimmers (1991) assertion that Jobs provide discipline and structure, along with extra income,
to the lives of newly independent college freshmen and may even provide a positive influence on
study habits, by forcing students to more carefully budget their free time. The findings also
support (Kuh 1995) that work, among other out-of-class activities, has presented students with
personal and social challenges, encouraged them to develop more complicated views on
personal, academic, and other matters.
The finding from the hypothesis reveal that students who worked in public institutions
showed a significant difference in their gains in skills and experience through work from those
who worked in private institutions. The result leads to rejection of the null hypotheses. The
observed difference resulted from the fact that public enterprises are better structured particularly
in staff development matters and also because they possess better facilities and enabling
environment for staff training and development.

Nigerian Vocational Association Journal Vol. 16 (1) July 2011, pp 118-124.

Conclusion
In summary, this study adds to previous research that suggests that undergraduate work
experience in general and SIWES programme in particular, has a positive impact on a students
early career success. The study shows that those who serve in government establishment,
inclusive of organized private sector, are exposed to better opportunity for developing
employability skills than those in private organizations.
Recommendations
The findings of this study lead to the following recommendations:
1. Government should strengthen the SIWES scheme through adequate funding.
This will enable proper remuneration of supervising staff from government departments
and institutions of learning.
2. Uniform programs for trainees should be developed for various trades in various
disciplines in accordance with the National Occupational Standards being developed by
the NBTE.
3. Legislative procedures should be undertaken which provides for for mandatory
acquisition of relevant facilities for training of participants, particularly by the private
sector organizations.
4. Tax relief and other incentives should be granted to private sector organizations who
implement the programme satisfactorily.

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