Summary of world cafe discussions


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Summary of world cafe discussions

  1. 1. UCL CAREERS SERVICE Developing Employability Skills in Partnership UCL Teaching and Learning Conference, July 2010 Notes from “World Cafe” Discussions How can businesses engage with UCL academic departments to provide input into curriculum design and delivery? Thoughts/concerns:  Although the employer facilitator had experienced negative attitudes in the past, the majority of delegates were positive about employers engaging with the curriculum  Delegates’ experience to date ranged from alumni speaking in their department to employers placing students on particular courses as interns  Many delegates were wary of employers directly influencing course content  Engagement must add value for the students- need to check what skills are being brought and need a system for vetting employers  There was very little enthusiasm for embedding employer engagement in the curriculum, with a preference for “bolt-on” activities Suggested Action:  Employers could help with the transition from academia to work since UCL knows what makes a good student but does this also make a good lawyer, architect, etc?  Develop partnerships between relevant employers and certain departments, where the links are obvious  Employers should directly push the message that they accept any degree- where this is the case  Employers could provide projects for students in some departments  Employers should be more specific in articulating what employability skills they are looking for to departments How can UCL and businesses work together to provide a greater number and range of work placement opportunities for students? Thoughts/concerns:  Delegates felt that a placement is something the university finds for a student as part of their course whereas an internship is something a student arranges themselves  There was discussion around whether or not a department or the Careers Service should source and promote placements and internships  There was a feeling that we should check that a placement does actually aid transition to work- how should we do this?
  2. 2.  Should technical internships be longer than non-technical ones?  How can we decide what model of placement will add value to students and businesses? Suggested Action:  Offer a “hybrid” service by providing each department with tailored list of companies who will offer internships  It was hoped personal tutors would help students gain placements or internships  Alumni should be used to source placements and internships What needs to be included in a statement of how UCL promotes employability? Thoughts/Concerns:  There was support among delegates for UCL-wide programmes such as those offered by The Graduate School Suggested Action:  There should be one place where academics can find out all the employability programmes/activities available to students  Examples of existing good practice and programmes in individual departments should be better promoted, such as mentoring, student ambassadors, and the skills development week and Transitions programme in Biology  Each department (or possibly faculty) should write its own brief employability statement for its website and link to the main UCL one  We must promote some academic skills as aiding employability Phil Howe, UCL Careers Service July 2010