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Developed by Rob Denton EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS Validated Self Assessment … every bit worthwhile !

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1 Developed by Rob Denton EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS Validated Self Assessment … every bit worthwhile !

2 This presentation is designed to… INSPIRE … as you ponder the views of ordinary people NCVER Generic Skills: Views and experiences of workers and students INFORM … as you explore the educational rationale of the LINKup Assessment strategy AND

3 What are the LINKup Employability Skills? Employability Skills are … Also known as: Key Competencies Generic skills Life skills DEMANDED by employers today ESSENTIAL for applying your technical skills in the workplace Valuable in ALL areas of life!

4 What are the LINKup Employability Skills? ‘LINKup Employability Skills’ Initiative & Enterprise Self Management Learning Communication Teamwork Problem Solving Planning & Organising Technology Using Information Mathematical Techniques

5 LINKup Employability SkillsEmployability SkillsKey Competencies Initiative & Enterprise Self Management Learning Communication Communicating Ideas and Information Teamwork Working with Others and in Teams Problem Solving Solving Problems Planning & Organising Technology Using Technology Using InformationCollecting, Analysing and Organising Information Mathematical TechniquesUsing Mathematical Ideas and Techniques They include both Employability Skills & Key Competencies: What are the LINKup Employability Skills?

6 Where are generic skills developed? “I think I’ve learned a lot of it from previous jobs” “Life teaches you everything right from the day you are born” “You learn them in the home situation or work with them out in the workforce or just interacting with other people” “Just general day to day life !” “Experience really!”

7 Where are generic skills developed? YES, ‘life’ itself is a great venue for learning generic skills It is a rich informal learning environment But how well do we understand this informal learning? Few of us can clearly define our informal life learning because it tends to happen subconsciously and in an unplanned way. Good teaching practice nurtures the development of generic skills – but again it is often not explicitly monitored “I defy you in your imagination to construct a more ideal environment for human learning than this life” M. Scott Peck, “The Road Less Travelled” “I defy you in your imagination to construct a more ideal environment for human learning than this life” M. Scott Peck, “The Road Less Travelled”

8 Eric Mayer claimed that Key Competencies represent the extent to which a person is self-directed. Research shows that ‘Flexible Learning’ empowers learners and nurtures self-directedness and Key Competencies / Employability Skills “Flexible Delivery was often cited during this project as being most conducive to nurturing the development of Key Competencies” (p6.23) Marie Jasinski, 1996 “Teaching and Learning the Key Competencies in VET - Project Report” Where are generic skills developed?

9 Our goal… To create ‘life’-like learning environments (where we all know generic skills are developed) AND make generic skills, and their developmental processes, explicit in order to deliberately and systematically accelerate their development. A very powerful objective! Take time to read it carefully.

10 Who is responsible for developing generic skills? “The lecturer does make a big difference, and so does your employer, but at the end of the day … its YOU!” “Well I think its up to the individual” “I think the ultimate responsibility is yourself. But its more of a contract between myself and the facilitators or teachers” “Its definitely the student’s responsibility”

11 Who is responsible for developing generic skills? Every individual! Trainers and employers should help foster development Empowering students helps them develop these skills and take personal responsibility LINKup Employability Skills Assessment is deliberately based on ‘self assessment’ to encourage every individual to take responsibility for their own development. This involves a very strong emphasis on encouraging people to learn through ‘reflection’

12 Who is responsible for developing generic skills? “Reflection is what enables us, according to many theorists, to generalise, as we create “mental models” from our experience. It is, in many ways, the process of “Learning from experience” “In our ‘twitch-speed’ world, there is less and less time and opportunity for reflection. We need to invent ways to include reflection and critical thinking into learning” Marc Prensky, “Digital Game-based Learning”, 2000 “Reflection is what enables us, according to many theorists, to generalise, as we create “mental models” from our experience. It is, in many ways, the process of “Learning from experience” “In our ‘twitch-speed’ world, there is less and less time and opportunity for reflection. We need to invent ways to include reflection and critical thinking into learning” Marc Prensky, “Digital Game-based Learning”, 2000

13 Who is responsible for developing generic skills? “No teacher can carry you there.” It’s up to every individual. “Just going around having different experiences is worthless if one does not learn something about oneself and the rest of the world” “Take a little bit of life experience and milk it for all its worth!” M. Scott Peck, “The Road Less Travelled” “No teacher can carry you there.” It’s up to every individual. “Just going around having different experiences is worthless if one does not learn something about oneself and the rest of the world” “Take a little bit of life experience and milk it for all its worth!” M. Scott Peck, “The Road Less Travelled”

14 How are generic skills assessed? “A lot of it’s self assessment” Through self assessment “you find … ah! Much better than you thought you were” “I find this a very user friendly sheet which you can use as you’re going through your course. You can tick off all the strategies you’ve used while you are doing it and then go off and get it validated by a facilitator”. “Its not just on my final paper”

15 How are generic skills assessed? This is the BIG issue!

16 How are generic skills assessed? LINKup Employability Skills recommends a process called Validated Self Assessment

17 PROVE their skills (through formal certification) AND UNDERSTAND and IMPROVE them (through the assessment process) 1. Designed to help people … PROVE & IMPROVE! How are generic skills assessed? Validated Self Assessment

18 How are generic skills assessed? 2. ‘Integral’ Performance – ‘Explicit’ Assessment Performing Employability Skills as an ‘integral’ part of technical tasks makes the learning experience authentic (emulating the workplace) ‘Explicit’ assessment allows detailed evaluation of these generic skills across a range of activities and contexts, reinforcing the generic and transferable nature of these skills. Separate explicit criteria for each technical competency & each Employability Skill Where a specific generic skill is essential to the technical competency it should be integrated into and assessed against the technical criteria, otherwise it is a generic and transferable skill that may be applied to any suitable context Validated Self Assessment

19 How are generic skills assessed? 3. Student “Self Assessment” of Employability Skills … –as part of any existing recognised course activity (ie NOT extra course activities) –at 3 Performance Levels –empowers students in the process –guided by ‘developmental’ Validated Self Assessment sheets –students must identify clear supporting evidence Validated Self Assessment

20 PERFORMANCE LEVEL 1 - FOLLOW given guidelines to achieve set goals PERFORMANCE LEVEL 2 - CHOOSE from a range of available strategies, information and resources to achieve goals PERFORMANCE LEVEL 3 - CREATE new strategies, or modify existing strategies, to meet the specific needs of a real life context Performance Levels indicate how self-directed you are in performing the Employability Skills The more self-directed you are, the higher the performance level Increasing Self-Directedness How are generic skills assessed? Validated Self Assessment 4. The 3 Performance Levels

21 How are generic skills assessed? 5. “Validation” of Self Assessment Evidence … –by facilitator / lecturer / assessor –optionally also by peers, industry reps, community reps etc –must ensure two things: that the student has successfully performed the Employability Skill (meeting the specified performance level criteria on the assessment sheet) AND that the student is explicitly aware of the Employability Skill processes and their competence in them Validated Self Assessment

22 How are generic skills assessed? 6. Student Outcomes … –Statement of Completion issued for all Employability Skills Performance Levels achieved –Results and comprehensive portfolio of evidence maintained in VSMART (student resulting system) Validated Self Assessment

23 How are generic skills assessed? 6. Student Outcomes … Designed to help students understand & improve their Employability Skills: –raises their awareness of the processes involved –identifies their current ability in a particular Employability Skill –offers a pathway for improvement –establishes a framework of understanding to help them apply these skills in different contexts (ie reinforcing transferability) and most importantly… –enables them to talk convincingly about these skills at job interviews. Validated Self Assessment

24 How are generic skills assessed? Supporting Validated Self Assessment LINKup Website … helping support the process LINKup Website … helping support the process Effective facilitation and support resources are ESSENTIAL

25 Advanced Rapid Robotic Manufacturing (ARRM) Guest speakers Tuesday 3 rd June “We look for people with very good soft skills, in particular communication, teamwork and problem solving. We do not employ people who are unable to work in a team regardless of their technical skills. When I interviewed Mark, his soft skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving stood out by far in comparison to the other people that we interviewed. And it was for this reason that Mark got the job.” Rebecca (HR Manager) said… An Employer’s Perspective Mark Rebecca Employee HR Manager

26 Advanced Rapid Robotic Manufacturing (ARRM) Guest speakers Tuesday 3 rd June “A very important part of that interview process was the candidate being able to give some good examples of how they could demonstrate these soft skills. So I can see how you going through this process (Key Competencies Assessment process) is going to really help you with getting experience and giving examples. And we’ve also had several of our own team members go through this Validated Self Assessment process and it’s really helped them determine where their strengths are and how they can improve on them.” Rebecca (HR Manager) said… Mark Rebecca Employee HR Manager An Employer’s Perspective

27 “As a previous student of the course you guys are studying, and from my experience so far in industry, I want to really emphasise the importance of Key Competencies. It is widely known that many employers look at soft skills first before they look at qualifications. Therefore presenting only a Diploma or a Degree is just simply not enough to ensure success at a job interview these days. Gaining recognition for your soft skills through the Key Competencies program will give you the edge at a job interview. And I guarantee it!” Mark (Graduate and employee) said… Advanced Rapid Robotic Manufacturing (ARRM) Guest speakers Tuesday 3 rd June Mark Rebecca Employee HR Manager An Employer’s Perspective

28 Communicaton Problem Solving Teamwork Planning Using Technology Using Information Initiative & Enterprise … a framework for life Self Management Learning Mathematical Techniques LINKup your Employability Skills

29 ENORMOUS UNTAPPED POTENTIAL Generic skills are like precious jewels in the ground largely undiscovered. We know they … ARE highly valued and in high demand WILL be discovered if you just look DO improve when explicitly revealed & reviewed OFFER high return with low risk Notes:

30 MULTIPLIER EFFECT MAKES IT EVEN MORE WORTHWHILE Consider this … When you learn a new ‘technical’ skill or knowledge, it improves your performance in that one specific area of work. But when you develop or improve a ‘generic’ skill it improves your performance in many diverse facets of life – because these skills apply everywhere. When you develop a new ‘technical’ skill or knowledge, it improves your performance until it becomes outdated or superceded. But when you develop or improve a ‘generic’ skill it improves your performance forever! … because they never become obsolete. These multiplier effects surely make every small step even more WORTHWHILE.

31 Notes: DEVELOPING A FRAMEWORK TO EFFECTIVELY PLAN, APPLY AND IMPROVE PERFORMANCE Familiarity with the self assessment process and assessment sheets equips people with a framework for planning, developing, assessing and improving their performance in any context or situation throughout life. I can honestly say that I use these assessment sheets myself to help plan and implement various activities. In fact in developing this presentation I used the criteria of the ‘Communicating Ideas & Information’ assessment sheet for guidance. The explicit framework of good practice processes (defined by the Employability Skills performance criteria) for each of the Employability Skills offers a developmental and systematic framework – without which we would tend to rely on our implicit somewhat vague understanding of our Employability Skills and Employability Skills processes.

32 Notes: EVERY SINGLE STEP IS WORTHWHILE! I firmly believe that anyone (student, lecturer, employee …) who completes even just ONE self assessment will gain something valuable, worthwhile and USABLE from the experience. Just getting someone to stop & reflect on their own performance is enormously valuable as this is arguably the most powerful part of the learning process – especially in today’s fast world where there is no time to ‘reflect’. Taking that FIRST step to consciously and deliberately engage in self assessment of Employability Skills is a really significant step. The first self assessment presents people with the steepest learning curve – especially in becoming familiar with the VSA process. However, every successive VSA rapidly builds confidence, willingness and capability for successful ongoing self assessment and development of Employability Skills AND development of Employability Skills Know-How.

33 Notes: EVERY SINGLE STEP IS WORTHWHILE! Lots of encouragement and support is crucial to give people a positive experience as they take that first step. EVERY engagement in this self assessment process has a positive impact - there is no latent period before explicit benefits are gained. People benefit immediately from… raised awareness of KCs and KC processes raised awareness of their own skill levels developing their self assessment ability developing a vocabulary to articulate KCs awareness of a framework for developing these skills

34 Notes: EVERY SINGLE STEP IS WORTHWHILE! Student: “When I began, I thought that I was a good problem- solver, but I could not say much about it. Now, I know much more about what problem solving is and I can speak very clearly in job interviews about what I can do”. Lecturer: “For some students, who do not have fond memories of high school, the achievement has boosted their self esteem immensely! Increased confidence at job interviews has been noted as students are able to speak of their generic skills with clarity and conviction. Schools and employers are impressed with our formal recognition of Key Competencies”. Every bit of effort by a student and every bit we can do to encourage and support students through this process is worthwhile. EVERY BIT WORTHWHILE!

35 Final Comment… The ‘validated self assessment’ process is not radical or difficult – it is simply good teaching practice. The challenge is making it widespread practice (across a program or a whole organisation)

36 Employability Skills Assessment… Every bit worthwhile!

37 Rob Denton TAFE SA Tea Tree Gully Campus (08) Employability Skills Assessment…


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