Achieving Effective Outcomes for Students
Your understanding of the relevant labour market and employer needs will help you
in achieving positive outcomes for your students, which will also benefit employers.
The NASES Guide for Student Employment Section 8 ‘Working with Employers’
The Higher Education Academy– ‘Student employability profiles – a guide for HE practitioners’
available from the Higher Education Academy.
On page 13 this document discusses the use of these profiles in Preparation for Work Placement.
There are separate guides for employers and students.
The profiles can help make it easier for employers to identify the skills which students from
particular disciplines are likely to have developed as a result of their study. The profiles include both discipline-specific and generic skills. They can also help students to identify the skills they have and those they would like to develop through work experience.
Select a discipline which is relevant to your work and download the relevant profile from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ourwork/learning/employability/disciplines
How could you use the profile in your work with students and employers?
You could choose some of the employers in the table of employers you drew up earlier in the module as examples.
Post to the forum to suggest some ways and/or comment on other suggestions.
If you don’t find the profile helpful then say so – and say why.
Employer Contribution to the Curriculum
The DIUS ‘Higher Education at Work’ report section 6.10 says ‘Many [employers] lack the time or desire to get involved with higher education providers to articulate what they want in terms that are meaningful to academia. And some may have views of higher education that are out of date, not understanding what a modern university does, or can offer’.
The current emphasis on employability and professional development planning means that it can be very helpful to have an employer contribution to the curriculum as this reinforces to students the messages you try to provide about the skills which employers value. If students get credit for their work experience or have to complete work-related projects in order to progress or pass their courses then it is especially helpful for employers to understand
the university’s requirements and to comment on how well these are aligned with employer needs. Some departments in your university may already have strong links with employers or employer/professional organisations which make contributions to the curriculum, for example Engineering or Health related bodies which provide professional accreditation for courses.
It would be helpful for you to know about these links as there may be the opportunity to build on them or it may be that an employer will prefer to deal only with one person from the university and could be confused or resentful of multiple approaches.
The DIUS ‘Higher Education at Work’ report question 5.4 says ‘Both the National Student Forum and the National Council for Educational Excellence have identified IAG [Information, Advice and Guidance] as one of the issues they will pursue. A critical component of good IAG is experiential learning and up
to date insights about the world of work. What incentives would encourage employers to be more involved in providing careers IAG both before and during university?
‘Engaging employers with higher education - HEFCE strategy to support links between higher education and employers on skills and lifelong learning’ (Available to download from the HEFCE website at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/News/HEFCE/2006/employer.htm).
Make a list of ways that employers could (or already do) contribute to curriculum-based activities in your university.
Don’t be afraid to be imaginative and ambitious!
What are the barriers preventing these activities taking place?
What incentives would encourage more employers to make this kind of contribution?
Use your table of employers from earlier in the module to remind yourself of the different types of employer organisations.
Are the barriers and incentives different for different types of organisations?