Graduate Employability: Building Staff Capacity
With 63% of students (Bennett, 2015) identifying educators as the information source used to develop career awareness, the Graduate Employability: Building Staff Capacity project focuses on enabling and supporting academics in delivering the concept of employability to higher education students. We have created the Developing Graduate Employability website to provide teaching materials and student-facing resources to educators. This approach helps maximise the reach of career development learning whilst minimising the need for expanded resourcing. Strategically, it positions our Career Development Consultants, as experts in career development learning, to improve academics’ understanding, confidence and ability when delivering different aspects of graduate employability to students.
Demonstrated benefit to tertiary students, graduate employers and/or tertiary institutions
- Enhancement of graduate employability by informed educators through scaffolded learning. This begins with students becoming familiar with the concept of graduate employability. Learning then progresses to five key employability themes; developing skills and knowledge, developing self, developing career awareness, interacting with others, and navigating the world of work.
- Increased accessibility to all students by embedding graduate employability in curriculum. This enables greater engagement across a broad audience and addresses the challenge of engaging those students who may not understand the relevance of career development learning.
- Empowerment of students through increased awareness and knowledge, enabling students to maximise the opportunities available to enhance their own graduate employability whilst studying.
- Access to the employability tools and resources available through the Developing Graduate Employability website. Utilising this platform, graduate employers can contribute to future resources and content that will be delivered in a structured learning environment.
- Increased accessibility benefits also extend to third party providers. Awareness of the tools and resources available through this platform may provide a guide to what materials can be developed from their perspective; whether it is to fill a void or to complement existing resources.
- Access to an increasing number of ‘career ready’ graduates who have actively developed their graduate employability whilst studying, and present as strong, confident candidates.
- Increased staff capacity through the empowerment of educators in addressing the role of higher education in developing graduate employability. The Developing Graduate Employability website means all academics can deliver graduate employability content using scaffolded learning materials. Designed to be accessible and adaptable, the website is structured to suit academics just beginning to engage in graduate employability development through to those looking for resources and community connections with which to expand their repertoire.
- Transformation of research, conducted as part of OLT commissioned projects, to operational status. This includes support and further progression of the Developing Graduate Employability website, and governance of teaching materials and student resources.
- eSage: Bennett, D., Richardson, S., & MacKinnon, P. (forthcoming, 2015). Enacting strategies for graduate employability: How universities can best support students to develop generic skills. Sydney: Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.
TILE: Bennett, D. (2012). The TILE Approach: Making the link between future selves and learning. Final Fellowship report for the Office of Learning and Teaching. Sydney: Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. (October). Available at: http://www.olt.gov.au/altc-teaching-fellow-dawn-bennett
- Utilisation of existing materials, as demonstrated in this project, is both efficient and cost effective, creating a workable model with minimum resources.
- Enhancement of institution’s reputation for producing ‘career ready’ graduates.
Potentially or currently benefits the NAGCAS organisation, its members and the career development industry
BENEFITS TO NAGCAS
- Addresses the issue of embedding career development learning into curriculum on a large scale with limited assets. Reimaging existing career development resources, reshaping the delivery of these materials, and utilising established contacts with academic staff, is a concept replicable by all universities, and at a minimal cost.
- Subsequent collaboration between universities regarding the implementation of this concept would enable the sharing of career development resources. Ultimately it could lead to the creation of a ‘clearing house’ of support materials; a potential national resource led by NAGCAS.
- Strengthening the connection between NAGCAS and researchers in the field of graduate employability. This benefit is demonstrated by the collaboration between the Curtin Careers & Employment Centre and OLT project leads resulting in the creation of the Developing Graduate Employability website. Associated with this, is enhancing the international reputation of NAGCAS through collaboration with The TILE Approach and similar initiatives.
- Promotion of the resources and programs developed by NAGCAS members. The Developing Graduate Employability website includes links to the student-facing materials produced by our team, encouraging academics to view the existing career development learning materials available.
- Inclusion of a wider cohort of NAGCAS members, including resource officers, academics and employers, in the delivery of quality career development learning.
- Provides access to a range of materials licensed under Creative Commons, from both national and international sources through the use of The TILE Approach website. Known as The TILE Approach in light of its four key themes of Teaching, Identity, Learning and Engagement, the tools and resources available on this site were trialled with 1700 students in 2014, and have so far been adopted by academics in 16 countries.
Our team constantly asks “How do we get in to curriculum?” We saw Graduate Employability: Building Staff Capacity as an opportunity to reshape how we answer this question. The result was to shift our focus from directly supporting students to building staff capacity.
- The Developing Graduate Employability website focuses on support and resources for educators wanting to address graduate employability with their students. By combining teaching resources created during OLT commissioned projects with our own student-facing resources, we are able to provide academics with robust materials for use in curriculum.
The Graduate Employability: Building Staff Capacity project is leading to a change in audience for our Career Development Consultants. In collaboration with Professor Dawn Bennett, we are educating academics, rather than students, about graduate employability. As a result, the focus and context of our materials, and how they are presented, is being adapted.