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Developing UG employability: unearthing multiple expectations Helen Ure
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Developing UG employability: unearthing multiple expectations Helen Ure

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  1. Developing UG employability: unearthing multiple expectations Helen Ure SL Work-based Learning and Academic Consultant to NBS Centre for Employability and Enterprise

  2. Northampton Business School • 2537 Undergraduate students (01/12/2013) • 31 UG Degree Programmes, 9 FD/HNDs, 20 PG Degrees, 8 Certificates / Diplomas, 17 Joint Honours Components • Circa.122 members of teaching staff • A Top 50 UK Business School (Guardian University Guide 2013-14)

  3. Context • Accredited work-based learning modules levels 4 to 7 • Optional placement year • Embedded employability, enterprise and internationalisation • Career development and planning module at level 6 • NBS C4EE activities

  4. What is employability Definition: “A set of achievements – skills, understanding and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy.” Source ESECT based on Yorke 2006

  5. NBS Developing Employability Creating a culture of employability We will create an expectation within the school that students will engage with a range of activities alongside their degree programme. We will encourage an attitude of active participation in their own development, their course, the University and the wider community. NBS will offer a range of activities and projects that will be of interest to students and which will also have a positive impact upon their employability. The culture of employability will be built upon the following principles: • Student ownership of action • Enabling students to make their own decisions • Supporting and challenging students NBS (2013)

  6. Pathways to Employability

  7. Pathways to Employability

  8. What has happened so far? • Relatively low engagement with placement year • Low engagement with extra-curricular activities • Engagement with activities resulted in positive outcomes • Low engagement with timetabled activities • Focus of conferences changed to placements

  9. Employer expectations • Students to be competent in application process • Students to meet selection criteria • Students to have work experience • Students to demonstrate higher skills and subject expertise • Students to demonstrate positive attitude and generic skills: AGR (2013). CBI and NUS (2011)

  10. NBS expectations • DLHE statistics – about employment and professional employment, salary • KIS – employment, professional employment, salary, classification • League tables, - good degree classification

  11. Staff perspectives • Employability is relating subjects to the workplace, theory to practice • Employability is enabling students to understand what employers are looking for • Preparing them for selection process • Developing skills, “soft skills”, professionalism • Experience some apathy and disinterested attitude towards employability and job search NBS survey 2014. (n18)

  12. Student perspectives • 56% intended to apply for graduate role during final year • 18% postponing job search until after graduation • Barriers to applying for graduate role: • Lack of time 50% • Rather focus on degree 11% • Unclear about future role 8% • Low UCAS points 7% NBS survey 2013. (n62)

  13. Areas of congruence and tension Congruence: • Students achieving the best possible classification Tension: • Timescale/ priorities • Selection criteria: class and UCAS points • Significant work experience • Student engagement with extra-curricular activities

  14. Possible contributory factors Socio economic factors: • Students from routine and manual backgrounds less likely to engage with extra-curricular activities, • Black and Asian graduates were associated with greater levels of participation than White graduates • Students who lived at home during their degree less likely to be in a graduate job Futuretrack(2013)

  15. Possible contributory factors Work experience: • Those who had undertaken structured work placements more likely to be in graduate employment • Unpaid work undertaken alongside study enhanced likelihood of gaining a graduate role • Unpaid work undertaken after graduation diminished the chance of gaining a graduate role

  16. Where next? • Further research into staff expectations of employability development • Continue to capture data on student behaviour Questions for today: • What does UG employability development mean? • Who are we developing employability for? • How can we engage our students more in employability development?