How do you build careers into your curriculum?

The practice of embedding employability into the curriculum has been the subject of much inquiry in the Higher Education (HE) sector. With increased student numbers in the market it is important for universities to stay above the competition to improve graduate outcomes.

So, how can educators embed learning and teaching activities that are both appropriate to their discipline and enhance employability?

The  Pedagogy for employability report includes some excellent ideas, from work-based learning and community-based projects in the discipline to cross-university initiatives such as personal development planning projects.

The authors note three key features for embedding employability successfully in the curriculum:

Learning, teaching and assessment

According to the report, evidence suggests that “successful pedagogical approaches include experiential learning – an emphasis on exploration, learning by doing and reflection in authentic contexts – ideally mixed with rather than simply replacing existing approaches.”

The report also suggests that existing assessment methodologies should be challenged and new approaches explored where necessary.

Work experience

There is strong evidence shown in the report where actual authentic work experiences help enrich the learning process.

“In order to maximise learning for employability and the academic subject it is important that this should be a pedagogically supported experience, which includes reflection and articulation of the learning achieved. Where this is difficult or impractical, it may be possible to embed examples of work-related learning or simulated work experience.”

Build an institutional culture that promotes employability

A constant challenge for most higher education institutions is embedding employability in the culture and the heart of what they do.

Teaching employability in a university level might include the organisations to practice timetabling and resourcing amended to fit the different pedagogical approaches that are required.

“Courses should make employability explicit through validation processes and through module learning outcomes.”

In Deryn Et. Al’s research ‘Embedding employability behaviours’ they found that, ‘The main revelation was that the employability skills sought by employers were mostly “soft” and therefore behaviours, rather than “hard” teachable skills, which has significant implications for the introduction of the teaching excellence framework (TEF) and the provision of suitable metrics.’