Presentation on theme: "Employability in Psychology: Issues and practice HEA STEM Psychology 16 th July 2013 Peter Reddy, Caprice Lantz and Julie Hulme."— Presentation transcript:
Employability in Psychology: Issues and practice HEA STEM Psychology 16 th July 2013 Peter Reddy, Caprice Lantz and Julie Hulme
Why a Guide for Departments on Employability in Psychology? Employability has become a major theme across UK HE –It importance is clear in the 2011 report on The future of undergraduate Psychology education in the United Kingdom –It is a key issue for applicants and students and their parents and advisors –It has always been important to some extent The special position of psychology makes it particularly important for our discipline
Why is employability important for our discipline? Growth (see next slide) and economic change - there are a lot of psychology graduates BSc Psychology is non-vocational, but with confusing vocational aspects –We may let our students down - they may overestimate vocational opportunities, identify with their discipline, fail to respond to the range of opportunities that students of non-vocational degrees take in their stride This complication means that we have a special responsibility to our students, and to psychology Employability is also a psychological concept – this is our territory
Growth Psychology f/t undergraduate numbers increased –25,847 in 1998/9 –44,945 in 2008/9 More broadly –50,000 university students in 1939, –just over twice that in 1961, –300,000 in 1980 and –about 2,500,000 now –large increases in women, postgraduate and part-time students. Two thirds of current universities did not exist 20 years ago and in 1981 nearly half of the 46 degree awarding universities were less than 20 years old.
What do we mean by employability? The USEM model (Yorke and Knight, 2004) U Understanding, of disciplinary material and, how the world works S Skilful practices in context, whether discipline based or more generic E Efficacy beliefs, including a range of personal attributes and qualities M Metacognition, including the capacity for reflection and self-regulation Yorke (2006) employability - the achievements of the graduate and potential to obtain a graduate job. –a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy Yorke (2004)
….defining employability Harvey (2004) - an on-going developmental process that doesnt stop once the graduate is employed, about developing critical, empowered learners. Lowden, Hall, Elliot and Lewin (2011) distinction between –a narrow focus on skills and attributes –a broader approach (including skills and attributes) based on values, intellectual rigor and engagement Underpinning all is a can-do approach, positive attitude, willingness to contribute, openness to ideas, drive to make these happen. –Links to entrepreneurship and enterprise sought by employers & innovation, creativity, collaboration and risk-taking.
What do our students have to offer? The QAA (2010) subject benchmark statement for psychology –…due to the wide range of generic skills, and the rigour with which they are taught, training in psychology is widely accepted as providing an excellent preparation for many careers. In addition to subject skills and knowledge, graduates also develop skills in numeracy, teamwork, critical thinking, computing, independent learning and many others, all of which are highly valued by employers (p.2). –psychology is distinctive in the rich and diverse range of attributes it develops – skills that are associated with the humanities (e.g. critical thinking and essay writing) and the sciences (hypothesis- testing and numeracy) (p.5).
generic skills: psychology graduates should be able to: Communicate effectively. Comprehend and use data effectively. Be computer literate. Retrieve and organise information effectively. Handle primary source material critically. Engage in effective teamwork. Problem solve and reason scientifically. Make critical judgements and evaluations. Be sensitive to contextual and interpersonal factors. Use effectively personal learning and project management skills, becoming more independent and pragmatic as learners. As Trapp, Banister, Ellis et al (2011) point out, many of these are not exclusive to psychology but the full set has a remarkable reach and scope and may be unique to psychology.
Is teaching for employability selling out to commerce? A betrayal of the university tradition? What would Newman or Humboldt have to say? Newmans celebrated 19 th Century justification of liberal education* defends the university against the utilitarian requirement for it to be useful. The same utilitarianism is targeted by Dickens in Hard Times - these are the opening lines spoken by the headmaster, Thomas Gradgrind: –Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the mind of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. * The idea of a University, originally lectures given in Dublin.
Is employability the return of Gradgrind? Employability is not a reassertion of utilitarianism –it is an ally of scholarship, liberal education and the university tradition –an integral part of educating the mind and cultivating understanding. University is about ways that assumptions can be questioned, problems solved and boundaries extended as well as the transmission of established knowledge and skills. It embraces self-knowledge and awareness, skills in research & analysis, construction of adult professional identity and the development of sophisticated epistemological awareness and aims at the development of reflective, critically aware and ethically informed global citizens.
University as a community of learning Humboldt (1810, cited in Elton) - the university as a community of learning both teacher and student are there for the sake of learning HE is about construction, not just transmission Humboldts distinguishes between: –School - knowledge as established fact –University - scholarship as incompletely solved problems
How can we support employability? Read the case studies – there are lots of ideas and examples, let 1000 flowers bloom! This is in no sense a prescription – we hope it will stimulate creativity in psychology education and move the debate about aims, content and method onwards Work experience for example –There is a sandwich placement tradition…. –Most students also work part-time… –…there is emerging practice in getting students to use, apply and reflect on psychology in their workplaces
Definitions of learning Biggs (1999). –As we learn, our conceptions of phenomena change and we see the world differently. The acquisition of information in itself does not bring about such change, but the way we structure that information and think with it does. Thus education is about conceptual change, not just the acquisition of information. Barnett (1990). –The learning that goes on in higher education justifies the label higher precisely because it refers to a state of mind over and above the conventional recipe or factual learning. Cited in Brockbank and McGill (2007) pps 17-18
Teaching for employability Promote deep engagement with subject –An intention to understand, interest in a subject and a desire to achieve competence, read widely and relate new learning to previous knowledge, intrinsic motivation, use of evidence, inter-relating ideas. Meaning is generated through conversation, student activity & interaction (Gibbs, 2002) The teacher is critical in creating the object of study for the student, needs to empathise so as to frame material in a way that can be understood.
Psychology is at the heart of employability It is the academic heart of work and organisational behaviour and informs human resource management, careers guidance, coaching and consultancy. Psychologist, know thyself –We address the individual and are concerned with self- awareness, growth and development, social behaviour and cognition. We are a strongly research-focused discipline and employability emphasises being able to bring research and critical thinking skills to bear.
Practicalities – putting employability into the psychology degree Embedding employability into a psychology degree suggests an overarching rationale that infuses the whole degree. Employability is part of scholarship, academic excellence and higher order intellectual capability. Making employability an explicit central feature prevents students thinking that it is a separate, unimportant part of the curriculum –This would mean putting employability, personal growth, development and careers centre stage as part of what studying psychology is about. Start work on employability as soon as students join - they are receptive and learning about university study
Content 1 - Personal Development Planning To help students plan, integrate & take responsibility for their personal, career & academic development, identifying learning opportunities within their academic programmes & extra-curricular activities Uses personal profiles, skills audits, action plans, progress files, academic and personal records, learning portfolios and reflective logs to capture activity, reflection on activity and evidence of development. Students may focus on credit-bearing academic modules and grades rather than a more balanced set of factors influencing their future employment status, wealth and welfare. Can be part of a structured tutorial programme, a work or placement preparation or a psychology in practice module –needs to be included early, be mandatory and credit bearing.
Curriculum content for employability 2 Psychology of undergraduate and early adult development. –Teaching students about their own development can help them reflect on their changing thinking and reasoning –Lifespan development - Erikson (1978), Levinson (1996) –Late adolescent / early adult cognitive development / development of epistemological reasoning. Perry (1970) - evolution of male student reasoning from thinking dualistically, to taking multiple perspectives and using relativistic terms, and finally, to making a commitment to what they value. –Baxter Magolda (1992) development of epistemological reasoning in female students –Piaget, Vygotsky and Kohlberg - cognitive development and moral judgement in later childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.
Curriculum content for employability 3 Cognitive psychology - meta cognition, meta-cognitive development and implications for study Social psychology – relationships, their formation and dissolution Personality psychology - occupational choice in the context of e.g. locus of control Individual differences and career psychology –the matching model - self-knowledge in relation to occupational information (e.g. Holland, 1985). –early adult move from idealism and exploration to greater realism taking account of life roles & context (e.g. Super,1979) –constructivist theory (Savickas, 2005) - vocational personality, life themes, and career adaptability encourages individuals to go beyond objective understanding of types and traits to query their subjective experiences of themselves and the world around them.
Developmental context Levinson (1978, 1996) Early adulthood: 17 to 45 –Early adult transition: 17 to 22 –Entering the adult world: 22 to 28 Transition can take 3 to 6 years. Within the broad eras are periods of development, each characterized by a set of tasks and an attempt to build or modify our life structure. In the Early Adult Transition the main tasks are to move out of the pre- adult world and to take a first step into the adult world. In every period is the Dream - an imagined possibility generating excitement and vitality, has a vision-like quality. A projection of our ideal life, we are always becoming in relation to it. The dream is modified and revised throughout life. (Tennant and Pogson,1995)
Employability and the psychology professions BSc Psychology vocational aspects are largely illusory – only 20% enter professional psychology, BSc only gets you to the start line Students easily underestimate how difficult it is to enter the psychology professions We all want our student to have the best shot at the psychology professions but needs a sensitive touch – see next slide We must show our students –the breadth of opportunity they have as well as the routes into professional psychology –how a grounding in psychology (psychological literacy) has value and applicability in work and life
Clinical psychology Risks dominating career aspirations – positioned as the best career, and for the best a red rag to the able, committed, focused and successful placement year seen as a unique opportunity to short-cut the intense competition for graduate assistant posts is it what students mean by psychology? staff want all to be ambitious and to have opportunities exposes poverty of students careers thinking; we need wider models I think we have been really pushed into (it)… a careers talk … thats when it started … very, very early on in my degree. …when you do your placement, and you see people who are in that career … and theyre telling you, you know, weve done it, you can do it, and its having those people telling you that, that really pushes you... It definitely… was put on a pedestal as… this is one of the big jobs you can do… …one of those jobs that its so rewarding. …it can grow into you that clinical is the best of the best and if you achieve that you really have made it.