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1 EMPLOYABILITY OF GEOGRAPHY GRADUATES In the GIS and Geographic Information-related fields Krystyna Brown School of Geography and Environmental Management.

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Presentation on theme: "1 EMPLOYABILITY OF GEOGRAPHY GRADUATES In the GIS and Geographic Information-related fields Krystyna Brown School of Geography and Environmental Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 EMPLOYABILITY OF GEOGRAPHY GRADUATES In the GIS and Geographic Information-related fields Krystyna Brown School of Geography and Environmental Management University of the West of England, Bristol

2 2 INTRODUCTION Employability A set of achievements – skills, understanding 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) A set of achievements – skills, understanding 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)

3 3 GIS and Geographic Information GIS is often described as a technology used to collect, manage, analyze and report geographically referenced information in the form of maps. GIS is often described as a technology used to collect, manage, analyze and report geographically referenced information in the form of maps. An estimated 80% of all data has a spatial component. An estimated 80% of all data has a spatial component. Hence GI is information about objects or phenomena that are associated with a location relative to the surface of the earth. Hence GI is information about objects or phenomena that are associated with a location relative to the surface of the earth.

4 4 Example of GIS and GI Spitalfields, London - location of recent crimes (Stringer A, Macbean H, Gorst L and Taylor S (2003)

5 5 METHODOLOGY Employees - Former students Mail shot with questionnaire to students of the past two years who had completed the 'Applications of GIS and Remote Sensing' module. Mail shot with questionnaire to students of the past two years who had completed the 'Applications of GIS and Remote Sensing' module. This module offered a range of skills as well as fundamentals of GIS and GI. This module offered a range of skills as well as fundamentals of GIS and GI. Used as a discriminant in understanding what Geography graduates had to offer to prospective employers. Used as a discriminant in understanding what Geography graduates had to offer to prospective employers.

6 6 Employers A questionnaire - employers in the GIS and GI-related fields. A questionnaire - employers in the GIS and GI-related fields. Employers from companies in the commercial world, quangos, government and local government. Employers from companies in the commercial world, quangos, government and local government. Followed up with semi-structured interviews. Followed up with semi-structured interviews. What qualities did Geography graduates have? What qualities did Geography graduates have?

7 7 MAIN FINDINGS Employment – Former students A mail shot found that over 21% of the 65 students obtained employment in the GIS and Geographic Information (GI) -related A mail shot found that over 21% of the 65 students obtained employment in the GIS and Geographic Information (GI) -related sectors. sectors. Some Job titles from employees Cartographer Planning Technician Graduate Environmental Engineer Environmental Health Technician Transport and GIS officer Environmental advisor Graduate placement – County Borough Council Sales Recruitment Consultant

8 8 Employees All had used their GIS (team) project All had used their GIS (team) project and Some had also used their Some had also used their dissertation in job interviews. dissertation in job interviews.

9 9 Main findings - Employers Enhance employability for these jobs? (extracted from semi-structured interviews with employers). Digital mapping Digital mapping Spatial awareness Spatial awareness GIS analytical skills GIS analytical skills Data management skills Data management skills

10 10 Employers and Employees Comparison of Software requirements Similar software given - with the most often referred to: ESRI GIS software (Arcview and ArcGIS), Mapinfo, CAD.

11 11 WHAT EMPLOYERS VALUE IN NEW GRADUATES (Brennan et al. (2001) Working under pressure Working under pressure Oral communication skills Oral communication skills Accuracy Accuracy Attention to detail Attention to detail Working in a team Working in a team Time management Time management Adaptability Adaptability Initiative Initiative Working independently Working independently Taking responsibility and decisions Taking responsibility and decisions Planning, coordinating and organising Planning, coordinating and organising

12 12 From Employers – Qualities most valued in a new graduate Working in a team Working in a team Oral communication skills Oral communication skills Accuracy Accuracy Initiative Initiative Working under pressure Working under pressure

13 13 Student comments on PDP and a portfolio of work These would stand as proof that I have done the work – it is evidence to prospective employers. These would stand as proof that I have done the work – it is evidence to prospective employers. It would describe how advanced I was in certain skills. It would describe how advanced I was in certain skills. This documentation would suffice to employers and they would not require you to retrain. This documentation would suffice to employers and they would not require you to retrain. Useful for a prospective employer to see the progression. Useful for a prospective employer to see the progression.

14 14 Negative comment BUT Just because you have a PDP does not mean you would get a job Just because you have a PDP does not mean you would get a job

15 15 IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING PDP Portfolio of work Make students aware of their achievements Coffin B, Colfox E, Hazlewood P and Whitehead S (2003)

16 16 Future research Add to the data by following up the next cohort of students. Add to the data by following up the next cohort of students. Undertake further research with employers on employability in this job market. Undertake further research with employers on employability in this job market.

17 17 REFERENCES Brennan J, Johnston, B Little B, Shah T and Woodley A (2001) The Employment of UK Graduates: Comparisons with Europe and Japan. London: The Higher Education Funding Council for England. Coffin B, Colfox E, Hazlewood P and Whitehead S (2003) GIS – A Tool For Planning Bristols Natural Resources. Student presentation. Knight, P (200?) Higher Education and employability – some views from unemployed recent graduates [online].COBE, Open University. Available from: Plus/documents/Notesonastudy.pdf [Accessed 1 July 2004]. Plus/documents/Notesonastudy.pdfhttp://www.open.ac.uk/vqportal/Skills- Plus/documents/Notesonastudy.pdf Stringer A, Macbean H, Gorst L and Taylor S (2003) Spitalfields, London - location of recent crimes. Student presentation. Yorke, M. (2004) Learning and employability, Book 1. LTSN Support Network, ESECT Publication.


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