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The new employability ‘imperative’ and its impact on professional identities in Higher Education Careers Work. Gill Frigerio Career Studies Unit Centre for Lifelong Learning University of Warwick. Overview Introduction – my position and perspectives Employability – a developing imperative?

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slide1

The new employability ‘imperative’ and its impact on professional identities in Higher Education Careers Work

Gill Frigerio

Career Studies Unit

Centre for Lifelong Learning

University of Warwick

slide2

Overview

  • Introduction – my position and perspectives
  • Employability – a developing imperative?
  • But what is employability?
  • What has employability meant for Higher Education Careers Services?
  • Professional roles in HE Careers Services
    • New roles
    • Careers advisers
    • Placement officers
    • Professionalising strategies
  • Discussion
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Employability – a developing imperative?

  • Evolving language: enterprise ....transferable skills....employability
  • ‘Employability’ performance indicators
  • ‘Destination’ as the dominant performance indicator: league tables and ‘key information sets’
  • Work experience - proven positive impact on destination (Little et al, 2006)
  • Introduction of new funding regime in 2012 = Universities clarifying their ‘unique selling point’:
  • The (insert University name here) Advantage!
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But what is Employability?

  • Employability as employment outcome
  • Employability as a learning process
  • Employability as a set of learning outcomes (Yorke,2006)
  • Employability as potential to obtain and retain desired employment (employability = the individual)
  • Realised Employability (employability = the context)
  • with an explicit policy focus on the supply-side of the labour market, [it] is more likely to be associated with placing responsibility for a lack of employability on the individual” (Wilton, 2011, p4)
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The Individual and Employability

  • Students making sense of their own position in the labour market
  • Developing a multitude of individualised ‘narratives of employability’
  • Importance of the ‘economy of experience’
  • Lots of ‘sideways glance’ comparisons
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What has employability meant for Higher Education Careers Services?

  • Strengthened or weakened?
  • Growth of curriculum model (Foskett & Johnson, 2006)
  • ‘Break out’ or ‘break up’ (Watts & Butcher, 2008)
  • Warwick example – Centre for Student Careers and Skills: reach, type, engaging academic departments
  • Whither guidance?
  • “No institution will be able to fund significant one-to-one guidance going forward” Anne-Marie Martin, President, AGCAS
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Professional roles in HE Careers Services

    • New roles: increasing recognition for information and employer liaison staff, managers without a guidance background, employability advisers, student engagement officers, awards scheme coordinators
    • Careers advisers: A ‘caring’ profession?
    • Helper? Educator? Change agent? Interfacer?
    • Placement officers: from administrator to educator
    • Departmental? or central?
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Professionalising strategies

  • Career development learning – subject benchmark
  • Practitioner engagement with research
  • ‘Management of Student Work Experience’ qualification
  • Professionalising from within or from above (Evetts, 2011)
  • Capitalising on the imperative = professionalisation from above
  • Collective professional dialogue = client-centred common ground
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References

  • Evetts, J (2011) Professionalism in Turbulent Times: challenges to and opportunities for professionalism as an occupational value, NICEC Seminar, 21 March 2011
  • Foskett, R. and Johnson, B. (2006), Curriculum Development and Career Decision-Making in Higher Education: Credit-Bearing Careers Education, Higher Education Careers Service Unit, Manchester, p.19
  • Little B et al (2006) Employability and work-based learning York: The Higher Education Academy
  • Tomlinson, M. (2007), Graduate Employability and Student Attitudes and Orientations to the Labour Market’, Journal of Education and Work, Vol 20, No 4. pp. 285-304
  • Watts, T and Butcher, V (2008) Break out or Break-Up? Implication of Institutional Employability Strategies on the Role and Structure of University Careers Services, Cambridge, NICEC/ Manchester, HECSU
  • Wilton, N (2011) The Shifting Sands of Employability in CESR Review, Jan 2011 pp 2-5
  • Yorke, M (2006) Employability in higher education: what it is – and what it is not, York: The Higher Education Academy