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Enhancing Graduate Employability Professor Alison Halstead PVC Learning and Teaching Innovation HEA/University of Ulster May 3 rd 2011

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing Graduate Employability Professor Alison Halstead PVC Learning and Teaching Innovation HEA/University of Ulster May 3 rd 2011"— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing Graduate Employability Professor Alison Halstead PVC Learning and Teaching Innovation HEA/University of Ulster May 3 rd 2011

2 April 6 th 2011 Headline in Professional Body Journal Universities look to record student employability skills Anna Yates The Undergraduate Durham Award Leicester Award for Employability Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) pilot: Valerie Matthews-Lane Head of Careers

3 Purpose of a University Education in 21 st Century Work Readiness

4 Government initiatives post 1997 HE for Capability (1988), Enterprise in HE (1989) to embed employability skills Dearing – Inquiry into HE (1997) ended the policy debate! Funds available for 20+yrs Global need Different approaches same goal

5 Expectations of graduates world-wide Australia – Graduates complete a set of attributes New Zealand – Measures under a National Qualifications Framework Canada and USA – Critical skills and work-based learning criteria Denmark – Qualificatiosn framework requires the completion of a competence profile Finland – Skills courses integrated within curriculum and students personal plans South Africa – NQF has critical and specific contributions to personal development and social and economic development of society

6 Methods of delivering employability skills in the HE curriculum in UK Total Embedding Explicit Embedding Parallel development Lose skills without trace Visible SkillsBolt-on developments Skills disappear in context Skills in context Limited contextualisation No explicit assessment Explicit assessment Separate assessment Low impact on curriculum High impact on curriculum Low impact on curriculum DfEE 1997

7 Research in UK for HEFCE In 2003 How much does HE enhance the employability of graduates? Mason, G., Williams,G., Cranmer, S. and Guile, D. Benefits if structured work experience and employer involvement in the design and delivery of the curriculum In 2006 Enhancing graduate Employability: best intentions and mixed outcomes. Cranmer, S. Studies in Higher Education, Vol 31, Issue 2, April 2006, p 169- 184. Further doubt on benefits of classroom intervention as a result of academic perceptions of employability skills!

8 Project FTDL 5 which aimed to enhance the employability of graduates through the higher education curriculum. Contact Angela Maher for more information. Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford. OX3 0BP. UK. Tel: + 44 (0)1865 484270

9 NTFS project 2007-2010 – resources to complement. Professor Anne Hill and Dr Nick Morton (NTFS) and Dr Celia Popovic, Ruth Lawton and Jenny Eland from CELT and researcher Carmen Tomas

10 Employability skills for all Kent University careers

11 Graduates for the 21 st Century Strategic thinking –an employability-orientated model Ruth Bridgstock (2009) The graduate attributes weve overlooked: enhancing graduate employability through career management skills Higher Education Research and Development, Volume 28 Issue 1 February 2009, p31-44 Conceptual model of graduate attributes for employability including career management skills

12 Aston University Founded in 1895, University since 1966 Campus in Birmingham city centre Student population: 9059 (just over 1,700 International students) Industry-focused and accredited programmes Engineering and Applied Sciences, Life and Health sciences, Business and Languages Very successful at widening participation Industrial placement year (70%) Graduates entering employment (83%) A top 25 UK University

13 Graduate employability at Aston For over 20 years, Aston has featured in the Top 10 UK universities for graduate employment In 2007/8: 83% of Aston students had graduate level jobs within six months of graduation, national average 70% This placed Aston 8 th in the UK for graduate employability, according to the Sunday Times 3.7% of Aston graduates were unemployed against a national average of 6% Aston is one of only four UK universities where more than 50% of students take a placement year

14 Aston also leads two additional regional activities Graduate Advantage – places West Midlands graduates in companies or organisations on internships B-Seen – encourages students and graduates to create their own business by providing training and funding

15 Aston highest numbers of students on placement Benefits of placement years are generally accepted, but exist mostly in vocational degree programmes Academic performance Very early career Reddy and Moores (2006) showed academic benefits in psychology, in 2011 across all. Reddy, P and E. Moores. 2006. Measuring the benefits of a psychology placement year. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 31: 551-67 In 2011: Studies in Higher Education – to be published.

16 ProgrammeMark difference Yes vs. No Significance (ANCOVA) Partial η 2 (ANCOVA) Effect Size (d) ANOVA inter- action Kendalls tau BSc Human Psychology 63 vs. 60<.001.1110.80<.001.237 (p<.001) BEng Electrical & Electronic 59 vs. 55n.s..0160.35n.s..209 (p<.005) BEng/MEng Chemical 59 vs. 54<.001.1160.73<.01.142 (p<.05) BSc Computing Science 62 vs. 55<.001.0630.82<.001.264 (p<.001) BSc Managerial & Admin.Studies 62 vs. 57<.001.064 0.71 <.001.146 (p<.001) A taster: comparison of results Placement year significance once 2 nd year mark covaried Proportion of variance explained once 2 nd year mark covaried How many standard deviations the groups differ by Significance of year of study by placement interaction Association between placement year and degree class

17 Summary and other analyses Students on the majority of degree programmes show academic benefit from taking an optional placement year nearly any way you choose to measure it Further analyses show that the effects : (i) not due to being a bit older (ii) hold for higher and lower achievers (iii) hold for all ethnicities Email: or Email:

18 Aston 2007-2012 Employability skills development Integrated and Bolt on – wide variety E-portfolio PebblePad adopted in September 2008 – Foundation Degrees – work-based Reflection and embedding of employability competences Work Experience Year – mentor/tutor liaison PDP level 1, Level 2 academics with careers and library Peer mentoring Assessed within the module. Credit bearing. Employability modules. Centre for Learning, Innovation and Professional Practice Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice

19 PebblePad easy to navigate and use

20 Module Feedback can be built in

21 What we have learnt Success by integrating with explicit, assessed and credit bearing outcomes. Teams from academic and service departments working together on employability competences Extra curricula Bolt-ons are useful for students that do them. Clear outcomes for work- experience – extra benefits Updating for practitioners Input to curriculum and assessment from employers Final year/Masters/PhD project potential Knowledge Transfer partnerships and research possibilities

22 Aston 2020 – Employable graduates, exploitable research Integrated work experience (MSc/Eng) Teaching teams, academic and support services 98% graduate employability Personal Learning System (PebblePad) for all Student experience outstanding – NSS all 95%+

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