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The benefits of student – employer engagement: Simon Kemp 03 July 2008 a case study in Environmental Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "The benefits of student – employer engagement: Simon Kemp 03 July 2008 a case study in Environmental Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 The benefits of student – employer engagement: Simon Kemp 03 July 2008 a case study in Environmental Sciences

2 2 Content Aims of the project Methods Results Conclusions

3 Aims of the project

4 4 Primary aims of the project Identification of general environmental science student knowledge, skills and attributes Identification of general environmental science student knowledge, skills and attributes expected by employers Gap analysis of the above two aims

5 5 Secondary aims of the project Assessment of the value of student commercial experience through work based learning Exploration of the relationship between Universities and employers Investigation of the benefits, barriers and preferred timings for work-placements from the perspective of both parties Funded by a GEES subject centre small scale project award

6 Methods

7 7 Self administered questionnaire completed by 60 undergraduate and postgraduate students (~ one-third of student group) Three student focus groups (20 students) Self administered questionnaire completed by 32 employers (16% response rate) from three Communities of Practice: large companies, SMEs, public bodies Employer focus group (7 employers)

8 Student skills

9 9

10 Most important student skills for employers

11 11 Most important student skills for employers

12 Skills gap

13 13 Skills gap

14 Student attributes

15 15 Student attributes

16 Most important student attributes for employers

17 17 Most important student attributes for employers

18 Attributes gap

19 19 Attributes gap

20 Graduate knowledge

21 21 Areas of graduate knowledge

22 Conclusions

23 23 Conclusions Research skills and ability to work in teams are the most important skills for employers, matched by strong student confidence Strong student confidence in producing professional reports and delivering professional presentations is not matched by employer experience

24 24 Conclusions Good interpersonal skills, can do attitude, and flexibility are the most important attributes for employers, matched by strong student confidence Strong student confidence in good time management, working well under pressure, and problem solving is not matched by employer experience

25 25 Conclusions Less than 50% of employers find the appropriate level of graduate knowledge in the following key subject areas: EMS, environmental health, water resource management, environmental legislation, water quality, EIA, nature conservation Highest employer satisfaction for graduate knowledge in: contaminated land, general environmental science, atmospheric chemistry, climate change, geology

26 26 Conclusions Employer engagement is necessary to identify gaps in graduate skills, attributes and knowledge Employer engagement can ensure professional relevance of degree courses Employer input through placements, curriculum development, lectures, open seminars, and assessment can help to bridge the gaps and improve the employability of graduates

27 Any Questions? Contact details Simon Kemp School of Civil Engineering and the Environment University of Southampton. SO17 1BJ


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