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SHU Employability CETL/HEA Practice based seminar, 12 May 2010

The Employability CETL (e3i) at Sheffield Hallam University has undertaken research and evaluation work to underpin its institutional approach to the development of student employability. Recently, we have been interested in obtaining feedback from our alumni on the extent to which their courses have prepared them for the world of work, particularly in relation to their employability skills. In this seminar we will report the results of research undertaken by e3i (survey plus interviews) and carried out with our recent alumni which focused on their perceptions of their employability skills development whilst at SHU. The research results provide an important and additional voice in the debate about the type of skills and attributes that universities should be developing as part of their provision. This will be followed by two case studies of particular courses at SHU (in real estate and mathematics) which have responded to the challenge of embedding employability skills in the curriculum via innovative pedagogy.

The first case study, The European Challenge, makes use of an intensive project week held across several European locations, involving employers and a focus on some of the more difficult employability skills to develop in a university context – emotional intelligence and inter-cultural sensitivity. Findings from an innovative approach to evaluation will also be shared at the seminar.

The second case study involves the use of a bespoke e-portfolio to support employability skills development via PDP, resulting in the highest NSS scores in the associated question in this subject area. Again evaluation findings will be discussed in the seminar. The cases will be used to reflect upon the general features of curriculum design and pedagogy that support employability and encourage participants to bench mark provision they are involved in against these general features.

To present research findings of alumni feedback on their experiences of employability skills development at university and showcase two innovative approaches to employability skills development in real estate and mathematics that have generated highly positive student feedback.

- Present research findings of alumni experiences of employability skills development at university;

- Assess the implications of the above findings for curriculum and employability pedagogy;

- Demonstrate innovative approaches to employability skills development used in real estate and mathematics programmes at Sheffield Hallam University;

- Reflect on student feedback in relation to the above and identify the general/transferable findings that can be used or considered by employability educators in other subject areas.

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