Employer engagement: what is it?

The term ‘employer engagement’ has been defined by Kettle as“a range of activities, initiatives and approaches which are best conceptualised as a continuum. It includes responsive teaching and learning developments for up-skilling and developing people already in work as well as fostering capability and attributes to enhance the employability of students in higher education (HE)

Research underpinning the development of employability in higher education places high importance on the value of employer engagement. This applies to both vocational and non-vocational subjects alike.

Research underpinning the development of employability in higher education places high importance on the value of employer engagement. This applies to both vocational and non-vocational subjects alike.

Why is employer engagement in the curriculum important?

  1. Employability: Students are keen to gain relevant work experience or networking opportunities.
  2. Reputation: applicants are keen to know how well connected an institution or course is with industry. Are they going to meet with employers during their course and will there be opportunities to access work based learning or internships?
  3. Relevance and excellence in learning and teaching practice: The QAA through the Enhancement Themes has a commitment to encouraging business and education collaboration.

What forms can employer engagement take?

The relationship between employers and HE can take different forms as noted by the images at the bottom of the pageThere is an assumption that employer engagement can only reflect placement activity, this however is only one form of engagement and is not necessarily appropriate to all courses. The following examples demonstrate the diverse nature of how employers can engage with the curriculum and co-curriculum.

Employer’s relationships with the University fall into three main types of engagement

  1. Receiving a service from the university e.g. advertising a vacancy on the free recruitment site through the Career Development Centre.
  2. Working in partnership e.g. offering a student a business based project for a dissertation where the employer must work with the student and a member of staff to negotiate and navigate through a project that meets both business needs and is academically credible and appropriate.
  3. Influencing the curriculum e.g. an employer or an external body may sit on an advisory board and work with staff to influence what the content of the curriculum should be. This is particularly relevant and more prevalent in highly vocational courses.
© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon