Understanding how students manage their employability

Aysha Divan, Stephanie McBurney

Abstract


In this study we explored the process by which students manage their employability, the skills and attributes gained by students as a consequence of undertaking a particular activity and how their experiences influence how they subsequently manage their employability. 

Quantitative and qualitative data were collated from five separate groups of students. Each student cohort had completed one of the following activities: a credit-weighted optional professional development module (PDM), an industrial placement year (IPY) or a study year abroad (SYA).  The fourth student cohort was in the final stages of completing an integrated Master’s degree (MBiol). The final student group was the control group who had undertaken none of these four activities and were in the final stages of their three-year undergraduate degree. 

On the whole, students who have undertaken an activity were very positive about their experience. We found that students had very clear reasons for engaging in a particular activity and, in many cases, related to enhancing their employment prospects.  Those engaged in any activity report more focused career plans (in the case of the MBiol, IPY and SYA groups) and, in the case of the PDM group, high levels of self-awareness and understanding of employer requirements. We found students in the control group to be the most uncertain of their future career plans.  The reasons for not engaging in the employability initiatives described here and lack of career planning amongst the control group require further investigation.

Keywords: Employability, career management, industrial placement year, integrated masters, study year abroad, professional development module


Keywords


Employability; career management; industrial placement year; integrated masters; study year abroad; professional development module

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/ndtps.v0i11.587

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