“Embedding employability… will continue to be a key priority of universities…, and employers.” But what exactly does this strategic cornerstone involve? Students need to develop skills not only to gain graduate employment but also to retain it, and to go on to further progress within their career. Whilst there is no definitive recipe for employability, skills such as team working, problem solving, communication and commercial awareness are clearly crucial for most roles.
There is debate about how best to integrate employability within an often “crowded curriculum”.Whilst the Higher Education Academy encourages institutions “to consider a more individualised approach,” whichever teaching, learning and assessment methods are adopted, their common denominator must be the encouragement of student engagement.
The Level 5 law programme is a crucial stage for students because firms often recruit 2 years in advance. This paper analyses and evaluates the development and effectiveness of 2 core modules: Careers Development Learning and Clinical Legal Education. It explores the rationale behind the range of specific skills-based activities which have been included and goes on to consider their effectiveness particularly in light of the student feedback that has been provided. Its aim is to help inform the design of other curricular interventions. In particular we will consider the extent to which the teaching and assessment materials have encouraged student engagement with both PDP and careers.
For a variety of reasons, degree programmes are increasingly expected to better prepare graduates for the workplace. Appropriate mechanisms for achieving this will differ from department to department and from discipline to discipline – but some generally successful principles can be described. Employability skills comprise practical job seeking (i.e. Career Management) skills, that can be developed through short co- or extra-curricular sessions, and skills such as communication and team working that require longer term development. Both are important, however this presentation will concentrate on the latter. Successful strategies include the use of work experience (particularly a full-year placement). Skills in self-awareness are also important – the ability to recognise your own strengths, provide evidence to support this and develop strategies for improvement has a huge impact on gaining employment. A process of reflection and action planning embedded within the curriculum will help develop these skills. In addition, appropriate learning, teaching and assessment strategies can enable employability to take place alongside subject skill development. Courses designed in this way will enable students to develop employability skills – and to recognise that they are doing so – without loss of content. This workshop will discuss the above issues and explore successful strategies for incorporating employability development into your curriculum. The session will be interactive, and the intention is that you should come away with some specific actions to take to helpd evelop your own practice in this area. I will be using the ‘Socrative’ classroom response tool to focus discussion and to collate participants’ work. You can download the app for smartphones and tablet PCs, so come prepared! (Search the App Store for ‘Socrative Student’)