Uni intern helps with Chamber policy work

A Leeds University student has been helping the local Chamber of Commerce with its research programme following a change in the way that work placements are organised.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce recently took on Dan Turner for a month so that the second-year economics under-graduate could develop new skills prior to entering the world of work. He was charged with helping improve the way that the business support organisation collects and collates economic data for its Quarterly Economic Survey. Aswell as securing consistency among survey respondents over successive quarters, Dan spoke to firms to check that the factors that influence their outlook were reflected in the questions, which are replicated nationally in the biggest survey of its kind.

The placement was part of a £19m higher education funded programme to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training across the UK. Leeds University received funding in late 2014 as part of the Q-Step programme. This is the first time that the Chamber has placed students in its operations in this way.

Dan said: “My qualitative skills are developing through communicating with those involved with the chamber and the firms themselves, while my quantitative skills have been stretched by the statistical data analysis and drawing out the conclusions. The insight into the work of the chamber, which clearly plays a big role in the economic and business activity of the region, has also been interesting and relevant to my ongoing study of economics.”

Mark Goldstone, Head of Business Representation & Policy, added:
“It’s been great to have Dan involved – he’s clearly interested and keen in the subject and he’s brought in a new pair of eyes to look at something we do so often that we take for granted. I’m sure that this has been a useful exercise for him and for the university, and it’s something we’ll look to repeat again in the future.”

Aswell as work placements, the Q-Step programme includes

• New modules in quantitative methods and skills
• Deeper embedding of quantitative methods and skills in undergraduate degrees across the social sciences
• The development of digital resources to promote and develop quantitative skills in the social sciences.

More information about the Q-Step programme can be found at www.qstep.leeds.ac.uk/home/.