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Midlands Conference 2013 - employability at the heart of the student experience


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Midlands Conference 2013 - employability at the heart of the student experience

  1. 1. Should employability be at the heart of the student experience? Ruth Lawton University Learning & Teaching Fellow for Employability Birmingham City University
  2. 2. It’s important to students
  3. 3. Graduate (un)employment
  4. 4. Headline news
  5. 5. Employability may be headline news – but what is it? A colleague overheard two late-teens discussing a poster advertising Northampton Uni - the headline for which was 'Number 1 for employability’ • girl 1 - what is employability? • girl 2 - is that getting a job when you finish? • girl 1 – isn’t that employment? • girl 2 - so what's employability? • girl 1 - there's no such word!
  6. 6. My plan • The push for ‘employability’ • The issue of language and understandings • BCU’s targets, aspirations, intentions, explici tness • Life-wide, extra curricular, co- curricular…it’s the crowd that matters • CPD for us all
  7. 7. Why go to university Apply to Uni says: Top 10 reasons for choosing to go to uni 1. To get ahead in the job market 2. To follow a vocation 3. To have a career, not just a job 4. To have more money – eventually 5. To train your mind 6. To develop new skills 7. To be more independent but with support 8. To gain in confidence 9. To follow up on what interests you 10. To have a blast university.aspx The Student Room says: • There's still a lot less people do degrees than don't • Almost all courses increase your earning power • It's an alternative to living with your parents for another 3 or more years. • you're in a position of strength, a position from where you can diversify into a number of different careers. • It's an expierience. Some people like furthering their education you know • Because you want to, no other reason. Don't go if you don't want to • To get out of my hometown. To challenge myself. To escape stagnation… To become educated, in ways other than academic. To meet new and interesting people. To party a lot. To hopefully get a decent job at the end, even if I don't have a clue what I want to do exactly...
  8. 8. Why is employability so important? • Increasing emphasis by the government to enhance employability in the University curriculum. • Increasing emphasis by the government to make pre-University students aware of their actual career prospects (e.g KIS data). • Increasing emphasis on employability by professional regulatory bodies and education organisations (HEA, QAA). • Increasing role of employability in University league tables.
  9. 9. Students at the heart of the system • emphasises employability in degrees. • universities and employers should be involved in course design. • emphasis on work placements/ sandwich years across degrees. • students should be made aware of their job and salary prospects before they commence a course
  10. 10. League Tables
  11. 11. League table by fee / loan repayment / earnings? • earnings-by-institution-dangerous-data/2004377.article “The project has now gathered data from HM Revenue & Customs’ PAYE database and linked them to individuals’ Student Loans Company information, giving an initial sample of 170,000 graduates. For the first time, the project will measure graduate earnings in the long term and plot them against the institution attended and subject studied. It aims to estimate for each institution the proportion of loans never repaid by graduates - the resource accounting and budgeting (RAB) charge”
  12. 12. Employers have views too
  13. 13. • That was pretty much all about employment… so what is employability?
  14. 14. Employability is… • Global and individual • Fashionable and traditional (1926!) • Meaningful and meaningless • All about language, culture and understanding Hallett (2012)
  15. 15. My favourite definition of employability ‘To be employed is to be at risk, to be employable is to be secure’ Peter Hawkins 1999 NB In his latest book (2012) Pete talks about Working, Learning, Playing and Giving
  16. 16. Your turn Activity - What is your definition of employability? Turn to person next to you - two minutes each Would your students (and other stakeholders) agree?
  17. 17. My second favourite(s)… ‘Employability is having a set of skills, knowledge, understanding and personal attributes that make a person more likely to choose, secure and retain occupations in which they can be satisfied and successful.’ (Dacre Pool & Sewell, 2007 - 2012 revision in italics from discussion) Or what about career adaptability ‘the capability of an individual to make a series of successful transitions where the labour market, organisation of work and underlying occupational and organisational knowledge bases may all be subject to considerable change’ (Bimrose et al, 2011)
  18. 18. BCU: Partners for Success • PfS – Began 4 years ago with RoLEx (Redesign of Learning Experience) – Drivers both extrinsic (NSS, THE, DLHE etc) and intrinsic (core values)
  19. 19. PfS - Four themes • Target setting and monitoring – Deans to programme teams • Admissions and transition – Communication especially • Student Engagement and Support – Personal tutor for all students – Student engagement with curriculum design – Flagging ‘at risk’ students • Employability and Employment – Included in programme approval process – All students to have opportunity for work-related experience – Employability skills to be explicit – OpportuUNIty scheme – Employability & Entrepreneurship support – during and after university
  20. 20. Employability and Employment – All students to have opportunity for work- related experience – in each year of study eg placement; live project; employer-based dissertation; SAP; internship - – Employability skills to be explicit – OpportuUNIty scheme – part-time and temporary employment at BCU – Careers and employment advice embedded throughout student journey- incl graduates – Employability & Entrepreneurship support – during and after university
  21. 21. ‘Employability skills to be explicit’ • ‘Skills’ Part of programme approval, design and review • To include Person Specifications and confidence / competency monitoring for OpportUNIty • Currently BCU Employability Skills – 22 skills: actually behaviours, qualities, attributes as well as skills – very much mine • In future – need revision - SHL Great 8? (Bartram 2012)
  22. 22. SHL Great 8 • Leading and Deciding: Takes control and exercises leadership. Initiates action, gives direction and takes responsibility. • Supporting and Co-operating: Supports others and shows respect and positive regard for them in social situations. Puts people first, working effectively with individuals and teams, clients and staff. Behaves consistently with clear personal values that complement those of the organisation. • Interacting and Presenting: Communicates and networks effectively. Successfully persuades and influences others. Relates to others in a confident and relaxed manner. • Analysing and Interpreting: Shows evidence of clear analytical thinking. Gets to the heart of complex problems and issues. Applies own expertise effectively. Quickly learns new technology. Communicates well in writing. • Creating and Conceptualising: Open to new ideas and experiences. Seeks out learning opportunities. Handles situations and problems with innovation and creativity. Thinks broadly and strategically. Supports and drives organisational change. • Organising and Executing: Plans ahead and works in a systematic and organised way. Follows directions and procedures. Focuses on customer satisfaction and delivers a quality service or product to the agreed standards. • Adapting and Coping: Adapts and responds well to change. Manages pressure effectively and copes with setbacks. • Enterprising and Performing: Focuses on results and achieving personal work objectives. Works best when work is related closely to results and the impact of personal efforts is obvious. Shows an understanding of business, commerce and finance. Seeks opportunities for self-development and career advancement
  23. 23. The crowd • HEAR & proliferation of extra curricular awards - Intention – student standing out from the crowd • BCU partnership approach - Intention – raise the crowd eg ‘Not an oxymoron: embedding extra curricular activities in the curriculum’ • ‘Learning from extra-curricula activity’ module: any programme.
  24. 24. Why are ‘skills’ so important • We need to have a record of our experiences – for CV’s / applications • To have the record we need to recognise our experiences (media experience story) • We need to review this and keep it up to date • We need to be able to articulate our experiences and skills • We need to be able to present them appropriately
  25. 25. Your record • How many of you have a CV? – When did you last update it? • How many of you are on LinkedIn (or equiv) professional networking sites? – When did you last update it?
  26. 26. You and the SHL Great 8 Look at the list and definitions • What have you got? • How do you feel about your ratings? • Do the ratings matter for you and your employability? • If they do matter, what can you do about it?
  27. 27. Supporting staff • ‘Encourage and facilitate process for BCU professional and academic staff to offer support to students…’ (PfS) – M.Ed in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education – Support for HEA Professional Standards Framework
  28. 28. M.Ed Suite & Employability Semester 1 Semester 2 Cross year PG Cert Mod 1: Exploring Philosophies of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education PG Cert Mod 2: Applying Learning and Teaching Theory to Discipline/Practitioner Contexts Negotiated Study in Academic Practice 30 Credits Enhancing Practice in Higher Education Through Research and Evaluation Enhancing Assessment Design and Feedback Negotiated Study in Academic Practice 60 Credits Becoming an Innovator in Higher Education The Effective Use of Social Networking / Media in Higher Education (pending approval) Embedding Employability in Your Practice (on-line / distance learning only) (pending approval) Tutoring, Mentoring, Advice and Supervision Engaging Students in Reflection Through Curriculum Design and Delivery (pending approval) Enhancing the Student Experience through Curriculum Design and Development Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching Embedding Employability in Your Practice Educational Leadership for Change
  29. 29. Impact • My changing philosophy and practice: from having a small impact on a lot of staff to having a bigger impact on a few staff
  30. 30. Your turn Activity - What is your measure of success for your employability? > Turn to person next to you - two minutes each How are you going to translate that into your practice?
  31. 31. ‘Employability’Communities • There are a number of – formal and informal – communities to save you reinventing the wheel – AGCAS – SEDA – HEA – thematic and subject – Employability Developers network + jisc + LinkedIn • To join the ‘employability-development’ list go to and click on the option ‘join or leave employability- development’
  32. 32. References – where not on slide • Bartram D (2012) SHL Universal Competency Framework: Competency-Framework.pdf • Bimrose J et al (2011) The Role of Career Adaptability in Skills Supply: UKCES adaptability • Dacre Pool, L & Sewell, P (2007). The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education + Training, 49 (4), 277 – 289. • Hallett R (2012) The Rhetoric of Employability: Bridging the University- Employer divide • Hawkins P (1999) Art of Building Windmills: Liverpool: Graduates Into Employment Unit • Hawkins (2012) No Regrets on Sunday: Liverpool: Windmills Limited