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Enhancing Employability: Policy, Practice and Reality. Dr Sandra Hill R ay McMaster Lindsay McDonald. Agenda UWS approach to graduate attributes and employability What is a modern graduate? How the Employability Link facilitates employability Careers Service role

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slide1

Enhancing Employability: Policy, Practice and Reality

Dr Sandra Hill

Ray McMaster

Lindsay McDonald

slide2

Agenda

  • UWS approach to graduate attributes and employability
  • What is a modern graduate?
  • How the Employability Link facilitates employability
  • Careers Service role
  • Linking research and teaching – social capital, graduate attributes and employability
slide3

UWS Approach

  • No single statement of graduate and employability attributes
  • Embedded within curriculum using
    • Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF)
    • Student Employability Profiles produced by Higher Education Academy(HEA)/Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE)
  • Link with PDP
  • Joined up approach – Faculties and Support Staff
slide4

Agenda

  • UWS approach to graduate attributes and employability
  • What is a modern graduate?
  • How the Employability Link facilitates employability
  • Careers Service role
  • Linking research and teaching – social capital, graduate attributes and employability
slide5

What is a modern graduate?

WORK EXPERIENCE

Business Awareness

CONFIDENCE

TEAMWORKING SKILLS

Literacy & Numeracy skills

Flexibility and readiness

IT skills

Communication Skills (written and verbal)

Planning & organisational skills

Positive Attitude

Information analysis/data

Entrepreneurship/innovation

Self management and motivation

slide6

How do we as the facilitate employability.

  • Careers Service
  • Placement Centre
  • Employability Developer
  • Job Shop
slide7

Careers Service

  • lunchtime seminars
    • Drop in sessions outwith department location.
      • (IM)PROVEyourself programme
        • Links with local volunteering centres
  • Sector Based events
  • CSI event
        • Computing Employability session
                • Creative Choices Festival
slide8

Embedded Curriculum Activities

  • PDP slots within the timetable
    • Employer visits and sessions
      • My LINC (input into PDP activities)
            • Cross Campus & Cross Departmental working
                  • Placement Team
the study
The Study
  • 12 recent first generation graduates from the Business School were invited to reflect upon how employability skills and attributes were developed during their course of study.
  • The focus was on making connections with others, in the internal learning environment and with the business community
levels of social capital
Levels of Social Capital
  • Bonding
      • describing the ties between people in similar situations such as family and friends (getting by),
  • Bridging
      • relating to more distant ties of like persons such as workmates and loose friendships (getting on),
  • Linking
      • referring to reaching out to unlike people and dissimilar people who are entirely outside the community thus engaging a greater range of resources than are available within the community (getting around).
bonding social capital
Bonding Social Capital
  • The support offered by family and friends was often the catalyst for continuing with education but the lack of access to information and other resources and the dependence it created restricted choice of course and location of study.
creating bridging s ocial capital
Creating Bridging Social Capital
  • When students begin to connect with other students and staff in the institution
  • Structures and support are needed to enable this to happen
  • Students need to connect with new networks when existing groups inhibit their studies
  • We must not assume that skills and capabilities to confidently connect with others already exist
aspired characteristics of students
Aspired Characteristics of Students
  • Demonstrating commitment to study
  • Seen to be contributing in class
  • Achieving academically
  • Regular attender
  • “ I knew at the end of second year that I was going the wrong way. If I kept doing what they were then I was not going to make it. I wanted to work with a group that was more confident, more committed sort of thing. I thought some of their confidence might rub off on me”.
what happens to those who do not display admired characteristics
What happens to those who do not display admired characteristics?
  • Students are restricted in accessing some groups because of past behaviour or lack of confidence in making connections
  • “ She had let me down in the past. I just made sure I didn’t work with her again.”
  • “They left everything to the last minute. Even though their work was good. I did not want to be with someone like that. I just couldn't trust them in the group to do things on time”.
slide16

Some groups become closed and restrict access (bridging to bonding social capital)

“ We were a very closed group. It was into class and heads down. It would have been too difficult to let anyone new come into the group”.

  • Groups need to be aware that this will restrict access to different behaviours and ideas
  • What happens to those who are not let in?
formal work groups
Formal Work Groups
  • Students often feel unprepared for working in groups
    • Clarifying group objectives
    • Knowing how to manage group behaviour and processes
    • Developing skills and attributes
    • Dealing with conflict and applying sanctions
    • Reflecting on group and skills development
    • Reflecting on employability
linking social capital
Linking Social Capital
  • When students have opportunities to connect with more remote networks
  • Gives access to information and resources not normally available within the immediate learning environment such as business experts
  • Can be challenging, exciting and daunting
  • Students need to recognise the skills and attributes which enable them to make connections confidently and competently.
reflecting on experiences
Reflecting on experiences
  • Increased confidence
  • New ways of working
  • Practising skills and behaviours
  • Applying them to relationships with diverse others in the external environment (linking social capital)
the learning space in networks
The Learning Space in Networks
  • Access to new ways of thinking and behaving
  • Access to new ideas and a trigger for creativity
  • Development of skills, competencies and capabilities relevant to employability
  • Support and encouragement needed from staff
  • Role for staff in encouraging reflection of informal learning
developing employability
Developing Employability
  • Interpersonal skills and competencies to communicate with diverse others
  • Knowing who to connect with, how to make and sustain connections and recognising potential benefits
  • Knowing how to transfer skills and capabilities to other situations
  • Confidence comes with feedback and success
new forms of social capital
New forms of social capital
  • Imagined (Quinn, 2005)
      • using imagination to explore possibilities about new identities, raising aspirations and expectations.
  • Unimagined (Hill, 2009)
      • where the advantages to be gained through widening connections and networks are not recognised, where people are unable to see the benefits of connecting to others
      • Unimaginable (Hill, 2009)
            • that which is undreamt of, beyond current belief and unthinkable.