Lesley Grayburn Joint Head of Careers and Employability Service
Pam Crawford Joint Head of Careers and Employability Service
T: 01786 466089
Over the course of the last few years there has been a move away from seeing employability as purely a ‘bolt-on’ or optional activity towards a much more integrated and embedded approach which accepts and values the place of employability within the curriculum.
Enhancing and developing employability is a key strategic goal for the university. The institution’s Strategic Plan is clear in its intention to provide an excellent student experience and to maintain its strong record on graduate employment. A pivotal part of this is ensuring the institution is developing and improving the employability of its students by equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in a fast-moving world with global opportunities. The strategy also focuses on the necessity of building strong partnerships with business and industry, on the importance of helping individuals identify and use their natural abilities, and on providing for students to fulfil their ambitions. These themes are reflected in the institution’s Employability Strategy that aims to:
- Produce confident, aspirational graduates who can successfully compete in a competitive global economy
- Significantly enhance the reputation of the University of Stirling as a university of choice for business to find and recruit students and graduates
- Position the University of Stirling as a centre of innovation in employability practice
This will only be achieved by effective partnership working across the institution and by building strong relationships externally with business of all sizes and sectors.
These institutional priorities will be reflected in the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. Including careers and employability considerations in the approval process will enable faculties to address clearly the issue of employability in new programmes
The Careers and Employability Service can, throughout the Programme Development and Approval Processes, support Faculties considering the careers and employability make up of new programmes by providing information, advice, best practice, resources and (where possible) external contacts. Initial contact should be made with Lesley Grayburn or Pam Crawford, Joint Heads of Careers and Employability Service. Each Faculty has a dedicated Careers Consultant who can also be part of the process. Information can be found here.
How is the programme connected with business?
- In the development of your programme how can you work with key contacts and relevant sectors to ensure you know the answer to the following questions:
- What are the target industries for this programme?
- What evidence is there of demand for this programme from industry bodies and business?
- What is business is looking for in new graduates?
- Can the Careers and Employability Service provide contacts to speak to?
- If you have an Advisory Board what input and contacts can they provide?
During the Delivery of the Programme
- How will students and business be connected during the programme? There are many ways to do this from networking events to guest lectures or mentoring.
- Does this programme provide opportunities for work based and/or work related learning?
- One of the KPIs of the University’s Employability Strategy is by 2021 to include work based or work related learning opportunities in all of our programmes.
What is work based learning?
The term covers a wide range of opportunities where the student is gaining direct experience of the workplace. It uses the work situation to provide experience, insight and practice, and to encourage reflection on real issues leading to applicable learning. Within a programme this might include undergraduate or postgraduate work based dissertations; placements; internships; individual student or group work-based projects.
Work based learning is important in that it helps to bring together academic learning with workplace practice, connecting the working with the learning. It also enables the student to develop the key personal and professional skills and insight business is looking for.
The Careers and Employability Service can support you in considering how this could look in your programme. There are resources available, including a Work Based Learning Toolkit.
What is work related learning?
Work related learning covers opportunities where the student is gaining indirect experience of the workplace. This might include mentoring, business simulation exercises or guest lecturers from business and industry.
Is there a role for an Advisory Board who could have an ongoing role in supporting curriculum design, offering opportunities for students or inputting to the curriculum?
- The Careers and Employability Service can provide information on best practice and resources, such as template letters and information, to support the establishment of an Advisory Board.
Where are career management skills embedded into the programme?
- This might include sessions on career planning and job hunting; CV preparation; completing applications; finding work experience, creating a LinkedIn Profile, interview and assessment centre skills.
- The Careers and Employability Service has experienced and knowledgeable Careers Consultants who can design and deliver the workshops appropriate to discipline and year groups in the curriculum. They can also share and build on their knowledge of best practice elsewhere. Each Faculty has a dedicated adviser who would be your first point of contact. There are opportunities here to include alumni or business and professional bodies in delivering these types of sessions.
More information can be found here.
Where are the opportunities for student reflection on personal and professional development embedded into the programme?
- Graduate recruiters report that students can often struggle with reflecting and articulating on their experiences at university, and in how they have developed personally and professionally.
- Are students able to reflect on their personal and professional development and how they have developed knowledge and understanding, and are they able to articulate this verbally (perhaps through presentations) or in written form (for example via blogs or journals)?
- The Careers and Employability Service, and colleagues in Academic Development can provide ideas and examples of best practice in this area.
You will find some initial ideas here.
Where and how is it made clear to students the Graduate Attributes and skills that they are developing through their programmes?
- Both the institution’s Learning and Teaching Strategy and Employability Strategy seek to embed the University’s graduate attributes within the curriculum
The Stirling Graduate Attributes
Graduate Attributes are the high-level qualities, skills and understandings that a student should gain as a result of the learning and experiences they engage with while at university. This 'graduateness' is what sets them apart from those without a degree, and is the added value graduates offer.
Be the Difference
Through their degree and opportunities at the University of Stirling, graduates of the University will be subject specialists, with in‐depth knowledge, understanding and skills associated with their discipline(s). Our ambition is that they will also be confident, aspirational graduates with the right skills and attitudes to connect; innovate and transform, as they will have opportunities to become:
- with their discipline(s) knowledge, understanding and skills with a range of complex real-world issues
- with contributions from alumni, private, public and third sector to develop their employability skills
- with knowledge, experiences and people providing different perspectives, to understand different cultures, beliefs and traditions
- and work with one another as an inclusive learning community and with the wider community
- and communicate effectively through digital and other media
- through active and ethical research
- through using the latest global research and new technologies to develop new understandings and creative solutions
- through independent critical and reflective thinking
- through identifying opportunities to improve what they do and taking action
- through their intellectual, sporting and cultural passion and excellence
- through sharing new perspectives and broadening their horizons
- through being professional, adaptable and resilient and equipped to succeed in the global marketplace
- through being active global citizens who are socially, culturally and environmentally aware
After Delivery of the Programme
- How will you stay connected with your alumni and utilise these connections?