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Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles & Design PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles & Design. Cath. Fenton – Lecturer Jeanette Graham – Careers Adviser Embedding skills into the curriculum Professional Career Readiness. Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles & Design. Why? Employability & Professional Career

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Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles & Design

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Heriot-Watt UniversitySchool of Textiles & Design

Cath. Fenton – Lecturer

Jeanette Graham – Careers Adviser

Embedding skills into the curriculum

Professional Career Readiness

Heriot-Watt UniversitySchool of Textiles & Design


  • Employability & Professional Career

    Readiness main focus of University’s strategic plan.

  • Improve graduate destination figures

  • Combat fall in league tables

Heriot-Watt UniversitySchool of Textiles & Design

Employability, preparing


and graduates

with the essential skills

beyond the intricacies of

the discipline for a career

in the fashion arena.

Fashion graduates not only need an impressive portfolio, they also require:

  • creative talent and abilities to produce new variants

  • technical knowledge in product realisation

  • solutions to the age-old problem of clothing the body

  • skill to develop refreshing and exciting awareness of design in a contemporary context

Fashion graduates not only have to have an impressive portfolio:

  • But also :

    Commitment and drive

    Motivation and enthusiasm

    Team working

    Oral communication

    Flexibility and adaptability

    Customer focus

    Problem solving

    Managing own learning and career

    Commercial awareness

    Planning and organising

Session 04/05 – implemented a strategy to intersperse activities into the curriculum at all levels to enhance Professional Career Readiness (PCR)

Looked at 3 areas of PDP focus and integration:

  • Academic core skills

  • Personal/Career skills

  • Reflective skills for students

Graduate employability skills

Achieved an informed understanding of the requirements for employment through:

  • Placement provider feedback

  • Graduates feedback

  • Graduate employers feedback

  • Guest speakers from the industry

  • Industrial Advisory Group

Based on SCQF levels, Academic Skills Coach undertook an audit of employability skills already in the curriculum through:

  • Questionnaires to academic staff

  • Lecturers looking at skills in each module

  • Activities and assignments in each course

  • Specialist skills workshops delivered either by lecturer or Academic Skills Coach

Embedded in the curriculum

  • Oral, visual and written presentation

  • Live projects

  • Teamwork to achieve common goals

  • Self and peer assessment

  • Reflective analysis


  • Encourage work placements (compulsory in FT)

  • Discipline related vocational employment

Live Projects in curriculum


  • Woven fabric manufacturer - Holland & Sherry

  • Giftware retailers – Hallmark

  • Specialist dye manufacturer - B & H Liquid Crystal Resources Ltd

  • Textile design agent - Chris Judge

  • Using environmental friendly fabrics – Gardening Scotland

Professional Career Readiness

  • Sessions delivered by Careers Adviser for all years of all courses from year one.

  • All sessions are timetabled for all students

  • Attendance is taken at each class and passed to Course Directors

  • Encouraged and supported by academic staff

  • No formal assessment

Professional Career Readiness classes

  • Four courses – FDI, TFDM, FT and DfT

    Year One – Delivered as part of Registration programme to all 1st year students and Direct Entrants:

  • Careers Service Induction

  • Introduction to employability skills and expectations of graduate employers.

Professional Career Readiness classes

Year Two

  • Building on, recording and reflecting on skills

  • Writing CV/covering letter.

  • Individual CV/letter checks

    Year Three

  • Career planning and work experience

  • Career options – fashion/textile occupations and skills required

Professional Career Readiness classes

Year Four

  • Graduate job searching

  • Application procedures

  • Interview skills


  • All students offered individual help and advice

  • Separate programme for Placement Students

  • Same programme for School of Management students on Campus

Professional Career Readiness classesGet Started Programme

Professional Career Readiness classesGuest Speakers

  • Textile Embroiderer theatre; couture; design and production

  • Director CAD/CAM company advanced technologies for the Clothing industry

  • Senior Retail Consultant

  • Former CE of Aquascutum global sourcing and the impact on the Western World .

  • BHS Quality Manager career and experiences/advice.

Results - PCR & Embedded Skills

Rates of Graduate level employment steadily increasing

03/04 -46.4%

04/05 -56.3%

05/06 - 73.4%

06/07 – 81.4%

Professional Career Readiness classesBenefits:

  • Closer links with academic staff

  • Higher profile of Careers Service amongst students

  • More awareness of the needs of the industry

  • Students better informed with regard to where/when/how to apply for jobs

  • Marked increase in number of students applying for work experience

Professional Career Readiness classes


  • Attendance can vary

  • Raised expectations

  • Very labour intensive

  • Requires back-up resources

  • Relies on support from academic staff

Preparing graduates for a successful career in the global fashion industry

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