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EMBEDDING EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS IN THE CURRICULUM Ruth Lawton: University Learning & Teaching Fellow for Employability Centre for the Enhancement of Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "EMBEDDING EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS IN THE CURRICULUM Ruth Lawton: University Learning & Teaching Fellow for Employability Centre for the Enhancement of Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 EMBEDDING EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS IN THE CURRICULUM Ruth Lawton: University Learning & Teaching Fellow for Employability Centre for the Enhancement of Learning & Teaching (CELT) Birmingham City University

2 MENU FOR THE WORKSHOP Employability drivers Employability Skills An audit tool Problem solving Action planning

3 WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? To be employed is to be at risk, to be employable is to be secure Peter Hawkins having a set of skills, knowledge, understanding and personal attributes that make a person more likely to choose and secure occupations in which they can be satisfied and successful Dacre Pool and Sewell

4 DRIVERS FOR EMPLOYABILITY International HE Competition Economic downturn Graduates who stand out from the crowd Destinations Statistics – unemployment / underemployment,League tables Unistats / KIS Treasury / funding – value for money

5 CORE BUSINESS? We want to see all universities treating employability as a core part of their mission… expect universities to take responsibility for how their students are prepared for the world of work (Cable 2010)

6 FIRST DESTINATIONS? Developing employability skills for graduates is an issue for the [HE] sector, not only in relation to the first job students may gain after their studies, but also important for graduate prospects at future points of career development or change (Pegg et al 2012)

7 GENERIC EXAMPLES From bolt-on to embedded Careers consultant does optional session > tutor present Specific assessed module > UG Curriculum design Employer engagement Placements Makes a difference to degree classification (Green, 2010) and to destinations (High Fliers 2012 – not who you know but who knows you) Student engagement and reflection Students need to recognise, value, record and be able to articulate their own employability

8 QUICK IMPACT - EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS BCU Employability skills: Identified from: research with employers Creating Future-Proof Graduates project annual surveys of employers / professional organisations NB – added value: the language of skills (or attributes, qualities and behaviours…)

9 YOUR EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS ACTIVITY Which of the 22 skills do you use in your social / domestic life? Like our students we need to recognise, value, record and articulate our skills, experiences and achievements

10 WHAT ARE YOU ALREADY DOING? Activity - In table groups Where and how do your students develop their skills in: Problem solving Action planning & organisational Team working Integrity and honesty Commitment Self Belief

11 THE EXPLICIT QUESTION Do your students know they are gaining these skills?

12 MAKING THE TACIT EXPLICIT It is vital that students recognise what they have been learning…[they are] not prepared to translate doing a degree into the language of employers (Knight 2003) If institutions are serious about developing graduate attributes or employability …. then the challenges posed by assessment have to be addressed. A commitment to the development of graduate attributes or employability implies, for many subject disciplines, a preparedness to rethink curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. (Yorke 2010, p10)

13 ISSUES IDENTIFIED IN PEDAGOGY FOR EMPLOYABILITY 2012 (PEGG ET AL) Faculty issues Rewarding research activity rather than scholarly activity Not recognising that doing it for years doesnt make it explicit or current Is successful practice in developing employability of the same value as technical skills and academic knowledge? Need to consider: timetabling; resourcing; empowering students & staff; suitable spaces and practices Skills needed to teach employability (Lawton 2010) And what is it anyway Balancing educational purposes and pragmatic work-related outcomes Particularly statutory / professional bodies content Prove it – evidence base lacking (Gibbs 2010)

14 HELP IS AT HAND! Where in each stage of the student journey into, through and out of your course, could employability and learning & teaching staff add value to you / your students?


16 NOTE RE REFERENCES There are more than I referred to!

17 REFERENCES AGCAS/HECSU (2011) What do graduates do? Available from: Graduates-Do [Accessed10/9/12]. Graduates-Do Bennett, N; Dunne, E & Carré, C (1999). Patterns of core and generic skills provision in higher education, Higher Education, Vol 37, pp 71-93. Blasko, Z. with Brennan, J, Little, B. and Shah, T. (2002) Access to what: analysis of factors determining graduate employability [A report to HEFCE]. London: Open University, Centre for Higher Education Research and Information. Bridgstock, R. (2009) The graduate attributes weve overlooked: enhancing graduate employability through career management skills. Higher Education Research & Development. 28 (1), pp31-44. Available from: [Accessed 27/9/2011]. Brown, P. and Hesketh, A. (2004) The Mismanagement of Talent Oxford:, Oxford University Press. Butcher, V., Smith, J., Kettle, J. and Burton, L. (2011) Review of good practice in employability and enterprise development by Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. York: HEA. Available from: [Accessed13 /2/12]. Cable V (2010) Higher Education Speech given in his capacity as Secretary of State for Business and Skills, July 15th (accessed 30.7.10). Dacre Pool, L. and Sewell, P. (2007) The Key to Employability. Developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education and Training. 49 (4), pp277- 289. Available from: [Accessed 13/2/12]. Gibbs, G. (2010) Dimensions of quality. York: HEA. Available from: Quality.pdf [13 February 2012]. Green J (2010) The Impact of a Work Placement or internship year on a student Presentation given at 3 rd Higher Education Institutional research (HEIR) International Conference, Dublin, 2010 Hall, M., Higson, H. and Bullivant, N. (2009) The Role of the Undergraduate Work Placement in Developing Competencies: results from a 5 year study of employers. Birmingham: Aston Business School. Available from: [27 /9/11]. HEA (2011) A review for HEFCE by the Higher Education Academy of the submissions to the Unistats website. Available from: [Accessed13 /2/12].

18 REFERENCES CONT High Fliers (2011) The Graduate Market in 2012 [Accessed 24/5/12] Hillage, J & Pollard, E (1998). Employability: Developing a Framework for Policy Analysis. Research Brief No 85. London, Department for Education and Employment. Knight, P. and ESECT colleagues (2003) Briefings on Employability 3: The contribution of LTA and other curriculum projects to student employability. York: HEA. Available from: learning_teaching.pdf [13/2/2012]. Knight, P & Yorke, M (2004). Learning, Curriculum and Employability in Higher Education, RoutledgeFalmer, London. Lawton, R. (2010) Start with the staff: Embedding personal and professional development in higher education. BCU LATHE: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. 1 (1). Available from: [13 February 2012]. Panel on Fair Access to the Professions (2009) Unleashing aspiration: the final report of the panel on fair access to the professions. Available from: professions/panel-on-fair-access-professions [27 September 2011]. Pegg A, Waldock J, Hendy-Isaac S, Lawton R, (2012) Pedagogy for Employability (revised edition) York; Higher Education Academy Purcell, K. and Elias, P. (2002) Seven years on: Graduate Careers in a Changing Market. Graduate Recruiter. Autumn 2002, p22-23. Available from: [27 September 2011]. Yorke, M. (2010) Employability: aligning the message, the medium and academic values. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability. 1 (1), pp2-12. Available from: [13 February 2012] (requires free registration). Yorke M (2011) Assessing the Complexity of Professional Achievement [Accessed 10/9/2012] Yorke, M. and Knight, P.T. (2004) Embedding Employability into the Curriculum. Learning and Employability Series, York: HEA

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