Tag Archives: employer

Passion or Profession? Are the employability skills developed by first year Business and Human Resources Management students valued by placement providers?

Michelle Blackburn, Chantelle Trickett & Jessica Foster

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.6

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Short Abstract
The paper explores how a new module, with a distinct technical HR employability focus (that involves website design skills), impacts upon student’s placement seeking success. It explores this theme through interviews with students and placement employers before evaluating the benefits and challenges of devising ‘authentic learning experiences’ to support employability skills development.

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Detailed Outline
This paper considers whether a first year Human Resource (HR) skills module for Business and HRM (Human Resource Management) undergraduates has realised any employability-related benefits. The module requires students to work in teams to build a corporate HR intranet using Google Sites. Student undertaking this assessment develop their team working, communication, negotiation and project management skills amongst others. Additionally they develop and formalise their HR knowledge and apply it to a specific company context.

To establish whether the module had the desired impact upon employability 10 employers (who had recruited students from this course onto year-long placements) and 12 former students (currently on placement) were interviewed to evaluate how the module design had impacted upon placement seeking success.

Data categorised according to 3 themes identified by Andrews and Higson (2008) found that ‘Business Specific’ subject knowledge/expertise was not relevant for all employers with 60% of them listing general business and psychology degrees as example pre-cursors for HR recruits. However, 40% of employers were very interested in course-related HR skills development. They tended to be the organisations with smaller local HR departments. By interesting comparison 75% of students felt that their HR degree made a difference.

The second theme, Interpersonal Competence (soft skills) was valued by all employers and just over 80% of students. Both groups acknowledged this was mostly identified during interview/assessment centre activities.

The final theme, Work Experience also had a significant role to play in the selection decision. Half of employers suggested student’s previous work experience had a significant role to play in short-listing decisions. Nearly 60% of students felt it made a significant difference to their application and selection success.

These findings suggest that the employment market is nuanced, and simply having the right titles and employability skills development strategy does not guarantee success.

2012 PPDP and career mentoring

Kent Roach and Ruth Holland

SHU is committed to making PPDP integral to the learning experience of all it’s students, and is developing a framework and toolkit for staff & students to bring this commitment to life.  Being both reflective & forward looking, the PPDP process has a clear relationship with the development of career management and employability skills in students. 

Any general provision for career development in students should include the opportunity to join a dynamic and empowering career mentoring scheme, giving access to committed & highly competent professionals in a range of vocational disciplines. 

It’s benefits to students include: access to specialist skills; advice; insider’s knowledge;  and greater confidence. 

The mentoring process itself involves: identifying learning needs; discussing them; setting goals; taking action; and reviewing & reflecting upon the experience. 

All of which resonate with the core elements of PPDP. 

This session further explores the links between PPDP and career mentoring,  considers it’s place a part of the employability toolkit for SHU students and looks at how staff can be effective ‘enablers’.

D3 – (FU53) 15.30

2012 Embedding innovative practice: employers as partners in ensuring graduate employability

Tanya Miles-Berry and Nicola Cadet

Criminology has run two successful Employability Fairs, with a third planned for September. This has been assisted with embedding work related learning into our new Programme, and a number of initiatives are now being impacted as a direct result. 

This paper will outline the function of the Fair, how this has provided a number of different learning opportunities for our students to enhance experience and evidence graduate attributes through proactive and meaningful engagement with employers across the sector. 

We offer 2 modules, one at level 5 and one at level 6 where volunteering and employment roles attract credit through space being created for work related activities, complemented with face to face teaching around making links between practice, theory, academic knowledge and reflection to assess their learning and understanding of the volunteer opportunity they have undertaken. 

We also offer simulation modules which have been devised in collaboration with outside agencies, with the whole module, from design, to implementation and assessment being tailored to the graduate attributes identified by employers in our sector. 

The links with Practitioners through the Employability Fair proved useful, in opening opportunities for volunteering and placements in the first instance, with an additional event planned for the Practitioners themselves to identify further opportunities for our students.  

The paper will conclude that staff skills required to broker and foster such relationships are as critical as the skills being developed by students themselves.  Furthermore, the employer offer has to be explicit and transparent.  

It is our contention that ‘Employability Fairs’ can be emulated across the University and once these relationships have been established, further opportunities for collaboration will follow. These opportunities can be developed on a Departmental level and will not necessarily follow the model that we have outlined. 

A number of barriers to success have been established: 

Firstly, as a University wide Agenda, there is a danger that specific agencies may be over saturated with requests due to both duplication and a lack of awareness that an agency has already become involved. This in turn may endanger the initial relationship which has been established and lead to that relationship breaking down. 

Secondly, a number of organisations/individuals may become involved with a specific subject group – even though there is clear potential for cross-departmental or even cross-faculty involvement particularly across joint programmes. 

If we are to encourage true collaboration across both Department and Faculty, we need to ensure that a working policy is devised in order that the relationships which are cultivated on an individual basis are not jeopardised in our quest to secure work based learning opportunities for our students across the University. 

Furthermore, we will argue that fundamental to this policy is the need to ensure that a specific individual is identified within each Department, who will meet across Faculty to ensure that the policy can be developed and sustained.

Click to presentation:  Embedding innovative practice: employers as partners in ensuring graduate employability

A2 – (FU10) 11.00

2012 Teaching employability: reflection and change

David Egan, John Perry and Jane Tattersall

The Starting Point: Review of EFHTM ( Events ,Food, Hospitality, Tourism Management)  programme – part of review focus groups with employers to identify strengths & weaknesses. This identified gaps in employability skills particularly in soft employability skills.

Decision to review the teaching of and which employability skills should be delivered within the EFHTM program. 

Stage1: Academic with an interest in employability skills asked to review the literature and develop a framework for identifying which skills and where they should be developed. This framework we refer to as the employability matrix. Key skill gaps numeracy, IT and soft skills e.g. telephone communication

Stage2: Agreement of key elements of employability development: adoption of   Pool & Sewell (2007) The Key of Employability’ as the pedagogic philosophical approach to the development of employability skills within the programme, the detail of skills to be based on the employability matrix; skills to be developmental over the 3 or 4 years of the degree, modules to include an employability statements to be built in module assessments.

Stage3: Application to level 4, review &  replacement of   what was a mixed academic & employability skills module to one with a much stronger focus on employability skills Developing Your Management Skills (DMS) , with introduction of skill, then passed onto another module for assessment, the assessment feedback then being brought back into DMS for a reflective assessment. Other modules e.g. finance are reviewing and changing their content to reflect the new employment priorities. 

In this paper we would like to report on progress and some of the challenges faced and overcome in taking employability to the next level from theme to an integral part of the learning experience. We are currently implementing stage 3 . The authors have involved in the teaching of employability skills from several different perspectives both within and outside Higher Education.

A4 (FU05, FU37) 11.00