Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs were generated by Employability Leads from across Hallam over the last few years.

The responses were generated by members of the Applied Learning Academic Interest Group and covered strategic outcomes at that time.

Please read these in conjunction with the Highly Skilled Employment resource as a follow on to the Employability Plan.

Employability in the Curriculum – “Career Readiness“!

Is employability really important at level 4? Why?
Yes, it encourages level 4 students to start developing new skills, try new things, take opportunities and relate theory to practice. It also helps students form ideas around career opportunities.

My colleagues say employability is dealt with in other modules – not theirs. How do I respond?
Map out Employability Pathway delivery for their programme and opportunities for employability skills development in all learning. I would ask them back – why not? Why do they feel there is no relevance? It might be there but they don’t recognise it. Provide clearer definition for all staff as to what employability means.

What help is available in designing session/seminar/workshop content? On employability? a) for my students? b) for academic colleagues?
Analyse your ‘content’ with a peer to find ‘the employability’; look at learning outcomes for course/module and ask where is the employability opportunity? Build from there. Theme for Department or Subject Group away day to share ideas/best practice etc.

How can we increase the importance of employability within the curriculum and the University?
Define clearly what employability means. Employability needs to be part of the graduate/degree journey. The degree cannot be seen as a series of assessment tasks (current focus).
On person spec for new academic appointments – commitment and understanding of employability.
Key element of all course design and validation criteria.
Break down what “employability” is at Level 4 and how it is embedded into our curriculum at each level. Management of expectations – more coherent and transparent process – students learn why important and relevant to their journey

How do we maximise engagement without assessment?
Embed examples of practice, on-going real-world problems and current research throughout a module. Model the thinking that professionals have to undertake in relation to all of these aspects. Finally, assess students on how they can undertake this modelling by considering the connection between research perspectives and everyday understandings.
Make ‘employability’ meaningful. Don’t present it as a problem. Focus on student’s future selves e.g. writing stories about how they will use their knowledge and skills in the future.

How can I fit employability into my crowded curriculum that is truly embedded?
Critically analyse your material. There will be more employability related strands that you first realise.
You may already be delivering employability – what will graduates do? I.e. portfolios/pitching
You are probably already doing it, but staff don’t always know this and students need to be shown this.
Often this doesn’t require big changes, but changes in language – often the bit missing is reflection on and articulation of skills and experience and what has been learned.

How can I support disabled students regarding employability? Please take a look at the Inclusive Practice site under “Work Placements”.

Graduate Attributes – “3+3 Graduate Attribute Model

How do we recognise and develop resilience and confidence in our students?
Be realistic with students about the opportunities available to them. Concentrate on building students’ skills so they are equipped. Build in the idea of flexibility and the idea of a longer-term career journey beyond the first grad job. Less focus on producing students that are the “finished article”. Also sessions on how to cope with choice. Foreground the existing knowledge and enthusiasm that they have. Give them real insight into the actual practices and processes of research activities. Provide them with well supported and safe opportunities to work in community context.
Individual tutoring and APA (academic and professional advising) – settling them in at Level 4 is an essential element. Also small group activities where they are not alone in feeling what they are feeling (overwhelming, scared, confused) and how they can collectively move on.
Get them to try and fail in a safe environment in Level 4, and help them learn from their failure. Based on a learning process rather than just on outcome.
Encourage thoughtful risk-taking and reflection. Get students to reflect on positive and negative experiences and what they have learnt.


Is Linked-In a good place for students and academics to develop their professional profiles?
Are there alternatives?

Yes – Many employers only advertise placements via Linked-In. Also building networks.
Linked-in is increasingly used across all sectors. As well as an online profile it can be used to research companies – a great way to make contacts and find sources of work experience.
Alternatives for academics – research gate etc. However, Linked-In is overarching.

How do I make my students engage in PPDP?
Use the platforms students already use i.e. fashion design students use instagram to record their work/portfolio.
Make it compulsory. Help them to reflect – it is not an easy thing to do.
Consider the role of the student societies and how they could be engaged in encouraging this.
Promote as value-added and satisfaction derived from extra-curricular activity

How can PPDP be designed to reflect student transition?
Could students have a unique online blog site to record all elements of their PPDP at all levels? A private forum – also to allow access as an alumni.