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Lorna Froud Dr Joanne Moyle Careers & Employment Centre

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1 Lorna Froud Dr Joanne Moyle Careers & Employment Centre Oxford Brookes University

2 What does ‘employability’ really amount to
What does ‘employability’ really amount to? Our definition: Set of attitudes and beliefs which influence and inform actual behaviour and performance in relation to the ability to gain and sustain meaningful work (work in the broadest sense)

3 What we know from one-to-one guidance and group ‘employability’ practice
- We cannot underestimate the impact of individual attitudes and beliefs on students’ behaviour and performance e.g. confidence, self-limiting beliefs, pessimistic/optimistic explanatory styles in response to setbacks/resilience, fixed/growth mindsets, choice overload/decision-making styles, self-efficacy, transition coping styles, ‘poverty of imagination’ - Broaden-and-build model – curiosity, strengths-based positive self-regard, authentic experimentation and development =very motivating

4 What we often find… - Skills-deficit model, ‘what employers want’ often de-motivating; ‘doing things for the sake of the CV’ likewise de-motivating- Large number of students never access opportunities for self-development at university, especially ‘employability enhancing’ ones (unless forced) – why? - Recent research (Maura O’Regan) shows that majority of students have present- not future-orientation whilst at University, and that ‘future focus’ evokes more anxiety than often admitted

5 Recent developments Building evidence base from field of positive psychology and performance/sports coaching Employers: strengths based recruitment (E&Y, Norwich Union) Universities – Glasgow Mindset Project Napier Confident Futures

6 Why after years of trying does employability provision often miss the mark?
Generation Y – just in time, want it now (too late they have left) I’m in the first year what’s this got to with me? I’m in the second year, I’m focussed on NOW I’m in my final year and far too busy..

7 Problems Lots of evidence to show that career development activity supports academic learning but label a turn off Skill deficit model can feed into fears about the university experience as instrumental, doing the bidding of employers to meet skill shortages and Government agenda Evidence to show lack of resilience in generation Y

8 Useful models Personal and academic development rather than ‘careers’ or ‘employability’ Strengths Mindsets Resilience NLP MBTI

9 Mindsets – empowering attitudes
Fixed vs growth Fixed – ability cannot change Growth – ability can be changed Related to belief about ability Creates a whole mental world to live in Learn to hear your fixed mindset voice Recognise you have a choice Learn to self talk with GM voice (Dweck 1999)



12 What is Resilience? Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It allows us to recover from change or hardship. Resilience encompasses both strength and flexibility. It is associated with elasticity, buoyancy and adaptation.

13 How Do Resilient People Act?
Resilient people demonstrate flexibility, durability, an ability to organise and manage ambiguity, to be proactive rather than reactive, have an attitude of optimism and a mindset that is open to learning. The resilient person is positive and views life as challenging but filled with opportunity.

14 Response to setbacks and failures (Diener & Dweck 1978, 1980)
Resilient vs helpless Pay attention to learning Focus on what is being learnt rather than feeling Attempt new ways of doing things Use self-motivating statements such as ‘I can’

15 Can mindset be taught? Blackwell, Trzesniewski, and Dweck 2007)
8 sessions built around study skills Growth mindset group also learnt about the brain and how the brain is like a muscle; the more you use it the more connections it makes Improved in motivation (greater conscientiousness and more effort into classroom learning) and grades

16 Can Mindset be taught? (Aronson, Fried & Good 2002)
Videos about the brain and its huge potential Writing letters to struggling younger students More enjoyment of learning at University and better grades

17 Feedback (Mueller & Dweck 1998)
Praised for effort Praised for ability goals 90% of the group created learning goals 66% of the group created performance goals enjoyment continued decreased persistence performance improved declined lied about scores one individual 40%

18 Managers beliefs (Heslin, Wanderwalle & Latham, 2006)
Managers who adopt a fixed mindset are less good at recognising real changes in staff members they are less likely to help those they are managing teaching mindset changed beliefs and behaviour; managers gave more and better suggestions to employees during appraisals and were more likely to notice improvements

19 Born smart? mindset has a significant impact on motivation and performance, Beliefs can be changed

20 Workshops in development 2009/10
Taking on challenges Dealing with setbacks Assertiveness Influencing others Communication skills (NLP) Brookes Future Leaders

21 Links and further reading
www:// Centre for Applied Positive Psychology Dweck, C.S., (1999) Self theories: Their Role in Motivation and Personality



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