Project Details

A two-year, action research project to discover, trial and share effective and efficient ways of embedding employability in the curriculum run by the University of Auckland, University of Otago and the New Zealand Association of Graduate Employers.

Aims: 

The project's main aims were to:

  • build understanding of effective curriculum based and co-curricula pedagogies for developing and evidencing employability attributes
  • build understanding of the mechanisms and assessment techniques for incorporating and recognising co-curricula, life and employment experiences within degree programmes
  • trial and evaluate effective practices across settings
  • build and disseminate a guiding framework and tools for lecturers, programme designers and leaders in learning and teaching.

Methodology: 

The project's methodology was broken into five phases:

  • investigate and share practices with stakeholders
  • conduct literature reviews to create a draft framework for embedding employability attributes
  • conduct a series of two-step case analyses to document successful practices, identify archetypal interventions and evaluate their impact
  • assess how readily observed practices can be replicated by others
  • prepare detailed guidance and tools to enable others to adopt and build on the project's work.

 

Team

the university of auckland

Professor Susan Geertshuis

Principal Investigator

University of Auckland
university of otago

Dr Rob Wass

University of Otago
nzage

Tim Watts

New Zealand Association of Graduate Employers (NZAGE)
the university of auckland

Associate Professor Helena Cooper-Thomas

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Associate Professor Jennifer Curtin

University of Auckland
victoria university

Dr Bernadette Knewstubb

Victoria University of Wellington
the university of auckland

Brendon Potter

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Dr Annette Dunham

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Dr Barbara Kensington-Miller

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Dr Sean Strum

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Narissa Lewis

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Peta Moberley

University of Auckland
the university of auckland

Professor Gavin Brown

University of Auckland
university of otago

Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith

University of Otago

Status

Completed

Funding

$152,933.00 (excl GST)

$152,933.00 University of Auckland, University of Otago, and the New Zealand Association of Graduate Employers (NZAGE).

Key Findings

  • Most respondents provided a shortlist of capabilities which they regarded as relevant to employability. The majority of capabilities identified were skills rather than attitudes, values or dispositions.
  • Most participants appeared not to have had many opportunities to think about the future capability needs of their students and relate them to their teaching.
  • The dominant strategy reported by interviewees for developing employability capabilities was to introduce work relevant exercises and assessments into the classroom.
  • Respondents often reported that they provided opportunity rather than explicit teaching on the assumption that capabilities would emerge.
  • Concrete examples of teaching employability capabilities tended to be opportunities to develop observable skills such as those involved in giving a presentation.
  • Whilst none of the respondents rejected the idea that universities should prepare students for their futures, many explained that they were not sure how to perform this aspect of their role. This was voiced by one respondent as, “I think a lot of us in teaching have done it by trial and error rather than a solid pedagogy” (Transcript 3).
  • Respondents identified a host of other constraints which limited their capacity to develop employability. These related to time, course and assessment requirements, legacy policies, student pushback, attitudes of colleagues and institutional hierarchies.

Key Recommendations

Report

Future ready graduates

This report details how the project team trialled and disseminated an efficient means of embedding ‘future-ready’ capabilities in advanced and research-informed university courses. 

(PDF, 2.9 MB, 38-pages)

  • 17 November 2020
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