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Embedding employability in Higher Education - Are we getting it right?

Intended audience

This workshop is designed for staff responsible for leading and supporting graduate employability, policy and practice; senior managers, Higher Education staff (academic and professional services) and staff involved with curriculum development.

Learning outcomes

  • Introduction to the HEA Embedding Employability in HE Framework – a strategic underpinning
  • Utilising the Framework as a vehicle in practice for engagement and consistency

Workshop description

Employability is currently a key concern to governments and the majority of Higher Education Institutions; however the term itself is hugely misunderstood. The focus of this work normally centres around the work of Careers Services and isolated and often ad-hoc curriculum related activities with the impact being measured in terms of skills and static snapshot employment measures. It is therefore critical that we reflect on the current discourse in this area of work and consider are we all speaking the same language?

The workshop will take all participants through the four stage interactive process that underpins the Embedding Employability in Higher Education Framework. Supporting theory and evidence with practical examples of what works in practice will be shared between group discussion sessions. (Timings are flexible)

Session 1: 60 minutes
Stage 1: Defining employability at a programme / subject level including all key stakeholders and making this explicit with all staff and students

Break: 10 minutes

Session 2: 40 minutes
Stage 2: Auditing and mapping provision and support, considering all policies, practices and processes, against the definition agreed at Stage 1

Break: 10 minutes

Session 3: 30 minutes
Stage 3: Prioritising actions to address gaps, sharing best practice and agreeing measureable outcomes / outputs within policy, practice and processes.

Session 4: 30 minutes
Stage 4: Measuring impact and measures of success and using feedback and evidence to inform future priorities, resourcing and areas of focus.

Relevant Literature

Cole, D. & Tibby, M. (2013) Defining & developing your approach to employability: A framework for higher education institutions, Available from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resource/defining-and-developing-your-approach-employability-framework-higher-education-institutions (accessed 13/11/15)

Dacre, Pool, L. & Sewell, P. (2007), “The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability” Journal of Education & Training, Vol.49 No 4, pp 277-289

Knight, P. & Yorke, M. (2004) Learning, Curriculum and Employability in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge Falmer.

Facilitator biographies

Facilitator One

  • Doug Cole

    Head of Global Employability and Enterprise, Higher Education Academy, York


    Doug is a Senior Fellow of the HEA with over twelve years industry experience gained in both the UK and Asia and ten years in HE.

    In 2012 Doug developed the concept of a framework for employability to support institutions and is conducting PhD research in this same field. In 2013 Doug co-authored the HEA Embedding Employability in Higher Education Framework.

    Doug has a national profile in employability and regularly speaks on this topic both in the UK and overseas.

Register Online
  • Key Dates
  • Call for Proposals Open 12 September 2016
  • Registration Opens 19 September 2016
  • Call for Refereed Paper Abstracts Closes 23 October 2016
  • Notification of Acceptance for Refereed Paper Abstracts 15 November 2016
  • Full Paper from Accepted Abstracts Due 6 February 2017
  • All Other Submission Types Due 20 February 2017
  • Notification of Acceptance for All Other Submission Types 10 April 2017
  • Early Bird Registration Extended till 12 May 2017
  • Pre-Conference Workshops 27 June 2017
  • HERDSA 2017 Conference 28 – 30 June 2017