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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

Heriot-Watt UniversitySchool of Textiles & Design

Cath. Fenton – Lecturer

Jeanette Graham – Careers Adviser

Embedding skills into the curriculum

Professional Career Readiness

heriot watt university school of textiles design3
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 university school of textiles design4

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 classes18
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 classes19
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 classes guest speakers
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
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 classes benefits
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 classes25
Professional Career Readiness classes


  • Attendance can vary
  • Raised expectations
  • Very labour intensive
  • Requires back-up resources
  • Relies on support from academic staff