SOLSTICE & CLT Conference 2013 Employment expectations in a sample of first year psychology students Dr Linda K. Kaye (Edge Hill University) & Dr Elizabeth A. Bates (University of Cumbria) 5th & 6th June 2013
Overview • Discuss some background research to our study including previous findings • Discuss the methodology of our current project • Report some findings from one aspect of our project on efforts to enhance employability
Background – Fee Rise • With rising cost of fees there was concern about the likelihood of enhanced students’ expectations • “Consumer culture” (Jones, 2010) • KIS data focused on graduate employment and salary data
Background – Fee Rise • These were worries in 2006; fees rose to around £3k • Research pre-fee rise highlighted the possibility that students would view themselves as consumers and their demands and expectations would exceed the realistic realms of academic staff (Jones, 2006). • These were worries that came to fruition: Jones (2010) notes the expectation of more communication and that of an “immediate response…irrespective of the time or day” (p.45).
Employability • Due to this “consumer culture” (Jones, 2006) students are likely to expect more relating to their employment prospects following graduation • Exacerbated by the pressures of the current economic climate and graduate job market. • It is thought HEI and course choice will be much more motivated by the graduate chances of employment
Employability • The increased fees have found to: • Enhance employment expectations of psychology students (Bates & Kaye, under review) • Focus psychology students on career-related motivations for attending Higher Education (Kaye & Bates, under review)
Methodology Pre Fee Rise: First year psychology students (March –May 2012) Post Fee Rise: First year psychology students (Oct-Nov 2012) Expectations Expectations vs Motivations Motivations Experiences Experiences
Rationale • Why these two institutions? • Why focus the research on psychology students?
Motivations for attending university (Pre fee rise) Avoid full time employment Go to university Enhanced job prospects Specific course/university Specific career requirements Cultural norm Continuity of education Family recognition
Motivations for attending university (Pre fee rise) • “Whilst I was at college I did Psychology as one of my subjects I enjoyed it then, so I went and did an access course which included Psychology.” (FG 1, EHU, pre fee rise) • “I just knew my long term goal was you had to come to uni to get your degree, in order to go onto your doctorate, to be an Educational Psychologist.....I just knew that in order to get to become an Educational Psychologist, I had to come to uni” (FG 2 EHU, pre fee rise)
Motivations for attending university (Post fee rise) Enhanced job prospects Go to university Specific career requirements Specific course/university Safe option
Motivations for studying Psychology Study Psychology Interesting subject Versatile subject Vocational requirement
Motivations for attending university (Post fee rise) • “ I wanna do clinical psychology, that’s what I was thinking about doing because I’ve been told that I help people quite a lot so I just want to carry that on which was why I was looking at that.” (FG 9 UoC post fee rise) • “I haven’t decided what I want to do at the end of my degree but there’s just so many things you can do, and not just Psychology.” (FG 6 EHU, post fee rise)
Expectations of University (Pre fee rise) Contact Time University Employability Enhancement Supportive Experience Resources Value for Money
Expectations of University (Pre fee rise) • “If we was paying, is it nine grand next year, I don’t think we’d be very happy with the, like the two days a week and that sort of thing...I don’t think people paying the full fee next year would be happy….” (FG 1, EHU pre fee rise) • “Well, the course is three years...let’s round it up to £30,000, that’s an unreal amount of money…I’d want to jump straight into work, and try and get that paid off…I do kinda expect to get a good profession to try and pay back to money.” (FG 1, EHU, pre fee rise)
Expectations of University (Post fee rise) Enhanced job prospects University Financial Investment Course Choice
Expectations of University (Post fee rise) • “I hope people would choose something they were interested in rather than going with thinking of it like it’s going to cost me this much to do this, like you should be going after a career than you actually want to do rather than like feeling like you should get your money back…” (FG 8, UoC post fee rise) • “Erm yeah I think it’s worth the fees because it’s like essential to get the degree you need” (FG9,UoC, post fee rise)
Research Overview • The “What” Phase • What are students’ expectations, motivations and experiences of HE? • The “How” Phase: • How effective are current employability provisions for students at EHU and UoC? • The “Evaluation” Phase • What is the impact of these new employability provisions? • Can these provisions be effective in other UK HEIs?
Initiative • “Essential Skills in Applied Psychology” module • Workshops include: • Academic writing; referencing; critical thinking; approaches to learning; PDP, employability; reflection; presentation skills; group work, using online resources; time-management • Assignments include: • Reference list; group poster presentation; book review; reflection exercises (skills assessment and attributes assessment) from HEA Guide
Methodology End of academic year 2013/2013 Start of academic year 2013/2013 Awareness of PDP Awareness of PDP Attitudes to PDP Attitudes to PDP Future Intentions of PDP Future Intentions of PDP
Preliminary Findings Time 1 Time 2 Awareness (M = 2.98, SD = .57) Awareness (M = 3.60, SD = .52) t (49) = 3.23, p < .05 Attitudes (M = 3.57, SD = .67) Attitudes (M = 3.36, SD = .90) t (49) = 1.44 , p = .200 Intentions (M = 3.64, SD = .48) Intentions (M = 3.90, SD = .73) t (49) = 1.08 , p = .321
Implications • Awareness of PDP significantly increased (but not attitudes or intentions to engage in PDP) • Awareness is a key starting point • Attitudes and intentions may be more difficult to change! • Review and consolidate our practices
The Next Stages • The “What” Phase • What are students’ expectations, motivations and experiences of HE? • The “How” Phase: • How effective are current employability provisions for students in EHU and UoC? • The “Evaluation” Phase • What is the impact of these new employability provisions? • Can these provisions be effective in other UK HEIs?
Questions? • Dr Linda K. Kaye, Edge Hill University • Linda.Kaye@edgehill.ac.uk • Dr Elizabeth A. Bates, University of Cumbria • Elizabeth.Bates@cumbria.ac.uk
If you’re interested... Bates, E. A., & Kaye, L. K. (under review). “I’d be expecting caviar in lectures”: The impact of the new fee regime on undergraduate students’ expectations of Higher Education. Manuscript under review in the International Journal of Higher Education Research Kaye, L.K., & Bates, E. A. (under review). The impact of the new fee regime on psychology students’ reasons for attending university. Manuscript under review in British Educational Research Journal Lantz, C. (2011). Psychology Student Employability Guide: From University to Career. York: The Higher Education Academy Psychology Network