Future Directions Conference 2014Global Graduates: Enabling Flexible Learning • The Higher Education Academy
A Framework for employabilityThe Context • What is the ‘rationale’ that underpins all this work and what holds it all together? • Why do we do what we do? What are we not doing that we could do? • How can we ‘wrap all of this up’ in terms of defining an ‘approach’ to employability? • HEA Teaching and Learning Summit 2012 • HEIs are under pressure to meet the expectations of students, employers and the government • however • Found a lack of clarity in how to adopt a coherent approach to addressing employability
Recommendation : develop a framework for employability To engage students, staff must also be engaged, understand the relevance of employability and be confident in delivering support. • to support HEIs in evaluating employability provision • to encourage collaboration to disseminate good practice • to support the review and mapping of support • to encourage evaluation & quality assurance • to review role and involvement of all stakeholders in the shaping and execution of employability strategies
Employability What is your definition of ‘employability’?
Employability: the drivers • Government expectations • Relevance to global economy –Wilson Review • KIS, HEAR, employability strategies and statements • Competition for students • Student expectations • tuition fees, league tables, competitive labour market • Employer expectations • Need graduate skills, knowledge, attributes that support them to • be effective and competitive in a global labour market
Recent news or old news? • Students lack understanding of the skills and attributes that employers’ want. • Tibby, M. (2012). employer and student perspectives of • employability. • More than half of major employers say that the graduates they hire are not ‘work ready’ on leaving university • ‘Communication skills, teamwork, resilience and punctuality are among the attributes employers want’ • Research by YouGov with 635 employers, The Times (2013)
Global graduates: employability for employment and life WHY The need for skills, knowledge and attributes that enable them to be successful and able to deal with constantly changing circumstances WHAT Preparing graduates for the future; for a constantly changing global labour market and a constantly changing society.
Learning Lessons ? Despite the use of the term ‘employability’ at the highest level, it still remains a contested term used in a range of contexts (Hillage & Pollard, 1998). Supporting this notion Philpott (1999) describes employability as a ‘buzzword’ which is often used but which is interpreted in a number of ways, Gazier, (1998:298) (Cited in McQuaid & Lindsay, 2005:197) states employability is ‘a fuzzy notion, often ill-defined and sometimes not defined at all’. Cole,D. Literature Review 2007
Employability: What is it? Dacre Pool & Sewell (2007) Knight & Yorke (2004) Kumar (2007)
Employability: What it isn’t • Common misconceptions/assumptions – Short-term / Limited views • “Employment” V “Employability” – Employment is about a job, employability is about a career! • Lack of understanding / Resistance / An insult to academic purity! • “Vocational “v “Employability” Background • Dacre Pool and Sewell (2007) raise concern that too many people may have a rather over-simplistic view of employability as being about securing a job or merely developing a number of individual skills. • " ...employability goes well beyond the simplistic notion of key skills, and is evidenced in the application of a mix of personal qualities and beliefs, understandings, skilful practices and the ability to reflect productively on experience." (Higher Education Academy Online)
Where is the sector now ? • The HEAR • Community projects • Employers consulted on course design • Guest lectures and industry panels • Alumni networks and partnerships • What is missing? • Work placements • Internships in the UK and overseas • Embedded work related learning • Career management • Live projects and briefs • An ad hoc approach?
What does the research tell us? • What is the ‘rationale’ that underpins all this work and what holds it all together? • Why do we do what we do? What are we not doing that we could do? Have we got a joined up approach? • How can we ‘wrap all of this up’ in terms of defining an ‘approach’ to employability? • Employability: we have a number of definitions & models & we describe how we ‘do it’ • There is very little in relation to the praxis describing how these two areas connect
The framework for employability • Designed to engage a diverse range of people • Deliberately concise to promote accessibility and encourage ownership and use. • Key models suggested and reference to further reading and resources • Seeks to stimulate and facilitate discussion • Seeks to encourage reflection and action • Intended to be used in conjunction with the HEA publication ‘Pedagogy for Employability’ (2012), • 6
The framework for employability • Attempts to support us in developing a defined, more systematic and cohesive approach to employability • Aims to make the ‘implicit’ much more ‘explicit’ • Provides questions at each stage to aid reflection and encourage discussion • Seeks to engage by providing stakeholders with ownership of the process • Supports by providing an underpinning structure • 6
Time for reflection • Stage 2 - In relation to your definition at stage one, what are you already doing? Where are the gaps? • Stage 3 - How could you share good practice more effectively / proactively? How might you begin to address any gaps? • Stage 4 – How and when will you ‘measure’ and share your success?
Background at Bucks • Bridging the ‘gap’ between the Careers & Employability Service and academics (engaging all academics with employability!) • Moving careers and employability in to the new ‘Learning & Teaching Directorate’ • First 6 months in post – research & listening! • Findings showed great variety in interpretation, understanding and language used and subsequent ‘approaches’ • The guide provides a structured process which takes into account current practice and allows ownership at a course level
Embedding & Engagement • Are personal relationships enough? Support from the top? The challenges! • All departments were required to complete the ‘Programme Review & Evaluation’ process as a requirement from the Academic Quality Directorate (Existing process not additional). Embedded section with this • ‘Building a foundation’ - Understanding current interpretations / Sharing good practice / Identifying gaps and targeting support • Whole process has been designed with workload and time pressures in mind but at the same time needing to be meaningful
Questions? • Thank you for your time • Maureen Tibby (Academic Lead –Employability) Maureen.Tibby@heacademy.ac.uk • Doug Cole (Employability Project Manager, Bucks New University) email@example.com