Ireland’s ‘Knowledge Society’ and Transferable Skills Provision for Postgraduate Researchers. Dr Gerard Downes & Dr Jessica Kindler, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland. Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. a College of Education and Liberal Arts
Dr Gerard Downes & Dr Jessica Kindler,Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland
1) MIC Graduate School – September 2013
2) Brief history of postgrad policy around knowledge economy and skills training agenda
3) What is the effect of growing the numbers of PhDs?
4) Transferable skills training in AHSS in Irish HEIs
5) How effective is this approach?
6) Examples of good practice and future directions
From export-led to knowledge-based economy: indigenous, research-intensive, market leaders (Bruce, 2006).
‘‘The new graduate must not only have specialist knowledge in their field, but also have a range of generic competencies (managerial and technological) required to participate in a workplace subject to constant change, the skills to continue learning throughout a professional lifetime, and sufficient breadth of knowledge and understanding to reach to entirely new challenges and to place their work in a broader social and cultural context” (IUA, 2005: 11).
Number of Enrolled PhDs
-There is a need for more research into career destinations of Irish PhDs
‘What Do Graduates Do? The Class of 2012’ An Analysis of the Universities First Destination of Graduates Survey, 2013, A report by the Higher Education Authority
-Significant numbers of AHSS PhDs do not aspire to an academic career
“Three quarters of respondents from the arts and humanities, and over half in social sciences or education, sought a higher education career” ‘What do Researchers Want to do, CRAC, 2012)
-Academia is the primary destination of AHSS PhDs, but not the main destination
“Teaching and lecturing in HE throughout the survey period accounted for over one quarter (28%) of all arts and humanitiesdoctoral graduate respondents.”
“Teaching and lecturing in HE throughout the survey period accounted for almost a third (31%) of all social sciences respondents.”
4% of all A&H respondents went from research to teaching and lecturing and 2 % were employed in research throughout the survey period.
5% of all SS respondents were in HE research throughout survey period
“58 different career paths were described by over 250 arts and humanities doctoral graduate respondents.”
“58 different career paths were described by 255 social sciences respondents.”
Source: ‘What do researchers do? Career paths of doctoral graduates’, CRAC, 2011
What Provision for Postgraduate Researchers Does Transferable Skills Training Look Like in Irish HEIs?
More pronounced in institutes of technology and STEM areas, e.g. ‘DIT...characterised by a close alliance with and responsiveness to industry’ (Lawless et al, 2004)
‘Most employers who had difficulty highlighted problems with the engineering-related disciplines’ (IBEC Survey, 2010)
No similar vision or provision to identify or address skills gap in AHSS
Yorkeet al(2006: 32): ‘In order to reduce clutter and “task overload”, it is a good idea to design modules to have a few 'target' outcomes that naturally call upon understanding and skilful practices that will not be directly assessed in that module.’
High levels of assessment leading to certificates and statements of competence complemented with low levels of assessment throughout the programme of study that creates feedback and leads to claims of competence (Yorkeet al, 2006: 35)
Summer School/Residential Week : Completion of on-line assignments and e-tivities during the rest of the summer
Fulfils requirements for Generic & Transferable Skills Element of Structured PhD (18 ECTS)
Funding opportunities enhanced for PGRs?
The workshop model is useful when used to:
However, in the ideal world, the classroom based approach needs to be integrated with:
To enhance students' employability and transferable skills through work experience and critical reflection
‘Techniques, technologies and mindset of world of arts and digital entertainment now being brought into service across whole swathes of the economy, from hi-tech manufacturing to systems analysis, digital humanities and healthcare’ (Newbigin, 2014: 12).