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Education Studies Degrees and Employability

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  1. Education Studies Degrees and Employability A HEFCE / ESCalate project by Julie Anderson & Helena Mitchell

  2. Session overview • Employability – the national context • The ESCalate project - background • Findings • PDPs • Audit • Discussion • Ways forward Higher Education Academy

  3. Employability – the National Policy context 1997- report from the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (Dearing Committee) recommended that: ".... institutions of higher education [should] begin immediately to develop, for each programme they offer a 'programme specification' which .... gives the intended outcomes of the programme in terms of: • the knowledge and understanding that a student will be expected to have on completion; • key skills: communication, IT, learning how to learn; • cognitive skills: understanding of methodologies, ability in critical analysis; • subject specific skills, such as laboratory skills." Higher Education Academy

  4. ESECT • HEFCE identified a shortfall between the skills students developed through courses and those employers need. • To assess the scale of the problem and to determine a strategic approach, a 3 year project on student employability commissioned. • The project team appointed is the Enhancing Student Employability Co-ordination Team (ESECT). • ESECT's approach is to concentrate on the curriculum as the main route to improving employability. • Higher Education Academy

  5. AGR – Association of Graduate Recruiters • Graduates comprise a key source of talent that can bring a currency of knowledge and intellectual capacity to employers. The costs of recruiting and keeping them are relatively high. It is therefore vital that they are in a position to contribute positively to the organisation speedily and without major additional resource. Their readiness to do this is heavily influenced by the extent to which they have developed employability skills. Higher Education Academy

  6. HEFCE, Employability and the Subject Centres • The Burlington Group/ GC • First phase - HEFCE funding: 8 SCs - large projects • Second phase: Education - smaller funded projects • Possible third phase to come etc. Higher Education Academy

  7. The ESCalate project • With an increasing number of students on Education courses that have no vocational element, what do such graduates do in terms of a job? • Case study: the Education Studies course at one English post ’92 institution • The findings from the project include data from a survey of over a hundred undergraduates; focus group interviews and a student workshop as well as data from employers and academics working in England and Scotland. Higher Education Academy

  8. What IS Employability? Knight and Yorke (2001) clarify two concepts of employability: 1. the educational concept which relates to graduates being able to cope with graduate jobs. 2. relates to their ability to get any sort of job. • Best practice in curriculum design, teaching and assessment implies ‘education for employability’(Knight & Yorke, 2000). Higher Education Academy

  9. “Strongly agree” – the students said employability is: • For undergraduates of all ages • Creating a learning environment which develops students employment related attributes • Equality of opportunity • What employers want • Skills for life Higher Education Academy

  10. Focus group students told us employability means … • “Better skills as a person” • “I think quite a few transferable skills I have got here, definitely.” •  ”Patience……..time management.” • “But, employability … I’m not sure.” Higher Education Academy

  11. The “Malmesbury” group said: Employability is: *Helping students recognise and develop their strengths and weaknesses *Initiating CPD activity with students that should continue throughout their working life *About academics understanding how to help their students become employable *Creating a learning environment which develops students employment related attributes Higher Education Academy

  12. Largely agreed with: Employability is: *Creating a learning environment which enhances students skills *Having the right skills for the market place *Covering key skills *About equality of opportunity *Learning about the world of work *What employers want *Meeting standards set by professional bodies *A challenge to the traditional concepts of HE Higher Education Academy

  13. Disagree Statements largely disagreed or neutral about are that employability is: *For the less capable students *The responsibility of the student union *A distraction from the academic agenda *Not related to the academic process *Social engineering *The responsibility of the careers service *Doing a vocational course Higher Education Academy

  14. Employers have said… • Essential attributes they want in graduate employees include ( in descending order of importance): • Good communication skills • Ability to work in a team • Effective time management • Critical appraisal skills Higher Education Academy

  15. Personal Development Planning • PDP is a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and / or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development. • The primary objective for PDP is to improve the capacity of individuals to understand what and how they are learning, and to review, plan and take responsibility for their own learning, helping students: Higher Education Academy

  16. PDPs continued • become more effective, independent and confident self-directed learners; • understand how they are learning and relate their learning to a wider context;  • improve their general skills for study and career management; • articulate personal goals and evaluate progress towards their achievement; • encourage a positive attitude to learning throughout life. Higher Education Academy

  17. Employability Audit • Score 0 if the audit point has not been seriously considered at all Score 1-4 if the point is considered to be satisfied: poorly (1) partially (2) adequately (3) optimally (4) Higher Education Academy

  18. Analysis - of points with score of 2 or less • What options would satisfy the audit point? • Do constraints make options unrealistic? • When in the course(s)could changes occur? • Which changes would most benefit employability aspects of the course(s)? • Which could be ‘quick wins’ / need longer term planning Higher Education Academy

  19. What next? • Possible further funded projects/ work with HEFCE • ESCalate – plans for the coming year offer opportunities for collaborative work as we develop a UK-wide resource for staff and students to support Employability activity within HE Education departments • Please sign up if interested in keeping in touch or can offer help e.g. relating to employability and disability, etc. Higher Education Academy