A strategic approach to graduate employability

In 2015, with consultation from each of Griffith's academic groups and Learning Futures, the Careers and Employment Service wrote the University's Employability Framework. This framework provides a blueprint to position Griffith as a university of influence in graduate success and employability. The Framework comprises four stages of a career success lifecycle: transition in, transition through, transition out and transition up. Discover more about these framework stages, as well as exemplars for each.

Framework stages

Career development learning objectives

  • Clarifying sense of aspiration and connection to the field, and future pathways,
  • Confirming and commencing to build career direction,
  • Selecting majors if relevant.
  • Understanding employability and how to build it.
  • Creating the career e-portfolio.

Career development learning

Learning and assessment items designed to foster a sense of career direction, purpose and aspiration.

Industry connection

Raise awareness of possible career options leading from degree and how to increase employability.

Student actions

  • Lay foundations of career development plan.
  • Commence building an e-portfolio, involvement in extracurricular activities, networks within the field and LinkedIn profile and contacts.

Career development learning objectives

  • Clarifying sense of purpose and capability and connection.
  • Building positive and professional graduate identity.
  • Capitalising on workplace learning.
  • Building sense of employability.
  • Building sense of professional connection.
  • Positioning for graduate recruitment.
  • Enriching the career e-portfolio.

Career development learning

Learning and assessment items designed to consolidate a sense of purpose and capability and foster a sense of employability and professional connection.

Industry connection

Facilitate workplace-based learning through methods such as:

  • authentic assessment items
  • work-integrated learning
  • mentoring
  • industry visits.

Student actions

  • Refine career development plan and commence targeting opportunities.
  • Actively engage with the professional field and extracurricular activities, such as via Griffith Enrich.
  • Record completed career development learning activities in e-portfolio, resume and LinkedIn profile.

Career development learning objectives

  • Preparing for graduate employment (or further study).
  • Building sense of mastery.
  • Building graduate/professional  identity and personal brand.
  • Building sense of professional community.
  • Achieving graduate success.
  • Leveraging the career e-portfolio with a growing portfolio of relevant experiences.

Career development learning

Learning and assessment items to foster a sense of graduate identity, professional community membership, mastery and employability. (Well-targeted capstone courses are an ideal vehicle).

Industry connection

Active engagement with industry, consolidate preferred industry relationships and apply for graduate roles.

Student actions

  • Commence active job search process.
  • Proactive outreach to professional field and foster growing network.
  • Develop professional development plan for after graduation.
  • Record in e-portfolio, finalise resume and LinkedIn profile etc.

Career development learning objectives

  • Establishing a graduate role.
  • Consolidating professional identity.
  • Building sense of proficiency, leadership, contribution, progression and resilience.
  • Continuing to enhance the career e-portfolio.

Career development learning

(Largely self-directed, but scaffolded by learning in final year and earlier) 

  • Establish self in role and industry and explore opportunities. Deepen connection to the field and support newcomers.
  • Implementation and ongoing refinement of career and PD plan. Continue to apply strategies for resilience and wellbeing.

Industry connection

  • Learning on the job, via workplace development structures (eg mentoring, CPD plans, etc), professional/industry association membership and professional leadership.
  • Maintain relationship with graduates. Contributions invited for re-engaging with Griffith.

Student actions

  • Continue to update e-portfolio, resume, LinkedIn and other social media.
  • Continue professional learning, including completion of any profession-required CPD.
  • Revise and renew career development plan.
  • Continue to grow and maintain professional network.
  • Seek ways to provide leadership within professional field.

Framework exemplars

We have an array of exemplars that illustrate the effective working of the Griffith Employability Framework. Explore the exemplars below for related stages.

Transition in

School and course

School of Allied Health Sciences, Bachelor of Sport Development, 1212AHS Introduction to Sport Development

Convenor

Dr Brooke Harris-Reeves

Overview and objectives

My innovative approach to teaching and learning is apparent by my strong commitment to developing a ‘career ready culture’ in the Bachelor of Sport Development. Introduction to Sport Development is a first year core course in the Bachelor of Sport Development program. This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of the Sport Development industry. The purpose of the assessment in this course is for students to: (1) identify future potential job opportunities; (2) recognise the skills and attributes required for these positions; (3) understand specific skills they will gain from the Bachelor of Sport Development; (4) develop a career plan; and, (5) start developing an e-portfolio.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

Students commencing a university degree are sometimes unaware of the employment opportunities once they obtain their qualification. The Bachelor of Sport Development program equips students with the skills to apply for a vast array of jobs in the industry. Due to the broad nature of the profession, as students ‘transition in’ to the program they should be alerted to potential job opportunities and the importance of developing a career plan with specific extra-curricular goals to achieve whilst undertaking their degree. The assessment in this course is designed to improve students’ employability and to ensure students are focused on the end goal of achieving employment.

How career development is included

I have developed curriculum and assessment to ensure students obtain employability skills when transitioning in during semester one, year one of the program. In 1212AHS Introduction to Sport Development students are educated about the importance of e-portfolios and required to complete an ‘About me’ by reflecting on their passion for sport and their career aspirations in the sport development profession. Students are also taught how to develop a resume and are required to include it in their E-portfolio. An additional part of the assessment in this first year course requires students to select two Sport Development job advertisements they may apply for after graduation. From the job advertisement students identify the essential skills, desirable skills and any additional skills that will make them more employable in the specific job. A template is then completed by stating whether students currently hold the skill, will obtain the skill from the Bachelor of Sport Development (this is identified from the course objectives on the course profiles), or whether they will gain it through extra-curricular activities. Students then use the identified extra-curricular skills to create goals on a three year timeline to complete whilst transitioning through their degree.

These assessment tasks allow students to: raise awareness of career options and confirm career direction; gain a sense of the importance of each course in the Bachelor of Sport Development program; recognise the importance of extra-curricular activities whilst transitioning through the program; and develop a sense of professional identity and connectedness to the industry.

Impact

As evidenced by the feedback below, students were engaged with this process and found it to be beneficial for providing clarity around their career path and choice of tertiary study.

I cannot think more highly of the Employability Framework that has been integrated into the Sport Development Program. It gives students like myself a real insight into what qualifications and expectations employers desire. I believe that this will give our cohort the opportunity to enter the workforce quicker than any other University students. If this framework wasn't imbedded into this program I would have most likely come to the completion of my degree and only then realise what other qualifications and experience I need to gain my desirable job. This framework gives us the opportunity to hit the ground running and build our employability so we are ready to be employed once we graduate.
One fear I had coming to University was that I knew the degree that I would choose was something that I was going to love doing, but when it comes to the end of that degree, where was I going to go with it?  What was I going to do with it? It's too often you see students going into the 'real world' after uni so unprepared for their profession. The Employability Framework that my teacher Brooke has given us in our Sport Development class is incredibly helpful and is going to be so useful down the track when I am 100% prepared for employability when finishing my degree.

School and course

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice/ 1011CCJ Criminology Skills

Convenor

Louise Porter

Overview and objectives

This core, introductory course introduces students to the range of potential careers in criminology and criminal justice, and to the key practical and academic skills they will need to master in order to succeed in both their studies and professional lives. Students reflect on, and develop, essential transferable skills in areas of critical thinking and communication, including written, oral and group communication. The course teaches students to become competent in searching for, and evaluating, criminological materials, and to understand issues relevant to professionalism and integrity at University and in the workplace. Students are also introduced to the range of resources and opportunities available at Griffith for developing skills and increasing their employability.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

Skills essential for academic success are also essential for success in the workplace. Allowing students to reflect early on their career options and goals, and the skills they need to master to achieve those goals, ensures they see the long term significance of their learning and assessment at university. It also enables students to plan their university experience according to their own development needs and career goals, enabling them to take advantage of opportunities available at Griffith to increase their employability upon graduation.

How career development is included

The course begins with a consideration of the key skills necessary for a successful career in criminology and criminal justice. This is facilitated by short videoed interviews with a range of professionals discussing their roles and the skills they need. The first assessment item is then a skills audit and reflection that enables students to identify areas for development.

Thereafter, the course is divided into two main parts. Part 1 introduces students to the main source materials commonly used in the study of criminology and criminal justice and frameworks for critical evaluation. The aim is for students to learn to think critically about where information about crime and the criminal process comes from, how to find it and how to evaluate it. Part 2 aims to help students strengthen their key communication skills. Here, a key focus is on breaking down the writing process and learning how to write for different audiences and purposes. Oral presentation and group communication skills are also developed through in-class activities and assessments. The course concludes with some reflections on how students might put their criminological skills to best use in their degree program and in professional life. This includes guest presentations from the Griffith careers service, as well as from students who have experienced some of the opportunities Griffith offers, such as studying abroad or undertaking work placements and internships. Students also redo the skills audit so they can reflect on their skills development since the start of the course.

Throughout the course, an emphasis is placed on practical activities delivered through tutorials. This is based on an understanding that students learn best by doing things and by practicing their skills.

Impact

Student evaluations show students appreciate the relevance of the course and find it assists with skill building, leading to improved performance. Comments from past students include:

I think that this course is important as all the skills and areas you talk and learn about will help you through your whole time at uni as well as in the workforce.
I think it is an excellent course and all first years should do it.
Overall, I found that I was submitting work that I was really proud of, and that I was receiving wonderful marks for. I attribute a lot of this to the skills I learnt in this course.

Criminology Skills is a core course for the Bachelors in Criminology and Criminal Justice and available as an elective.

School and course

Griffith Business School, Employment Relations – 1001EHR (Bachelor of Business)

Convenor

Amie Southcombe and Career Focus Module developed by Lauren Caramella, Careers and Employment Service

Overview and objectives

The aim of the Career Focus Module, delivered as a topic within the Employment Relations course, is to enhance student’s awareness of potential career outcomes from their business studies, to enable them to choose an appropriate major (s) within their program, and ultimately clarify a suitable career direction. In addition it outlines strategies they can use to enhance their employment prospects throughout their degree.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

Many business students are not aware of the possible career opportunities various majors offer. In addition, students are often unaware of the importance of career research, building networks, gaining experience, and building opportunities to develop desired skills, to their employability as a graduate. Career Focus is designed to get students thinking about these issues early in their degree, and requires them to explore career options, introduces the concept of job searching strategies such as networking, workplace interviewing and the importance of obtaining work experience. They complete a career plan as part of their 10% assessment task.

How career development is included

Students complete an online module that introduces the concepts, encourages self-reflection, provides examples, and links them to resources designed to facilitate their understanding of their career options and how to build their employability throughout their studies. The content includes short video’s, self-paced activities, web tours,  and career resources including job adverts, descriptions, lists of employers, vacancy websites and video recordings of workplace interviews with people working in roles leading from Griffith business majors. Students also participate in a tutorial discussing these issues.

The Career Focus Module was developed by the Careers and Employment Service and was originally delivered via in-person lecture and resources on Learning@Griffith. It continues to be delivered within a number of first courses across the university variously in-person and online format.

Impact

Students appear to engage with the exercise and find it extremely worthwhile. A recent survey of 67 participants found:

  • 89% did at least one key component
  • 82% found it easy and/or were motivated to complete the topic
  • 85% indicated improved understanding of their employment options
  • 82% indicated improved understanding of how to increase their employability

Student comments include:

It gave me options of things to do during my degree. It was really interesting to listen to someone doing the job.
…the entire assignment was useful as it gave me further insight into the career path I wish to go into and the skills I needed to have.
…this began my motivation to work hard to achieve my goal.

Transition through

School and course

School of Allied Health Sciences, Bachelor of Sport Development, 1313AHS Sport Development Practices

Convenor

Dr Brooke Harris-Reeves

Overview and objectives

My student focused approach is evidenced by my commitment to providing students with opportunities to develop employability skills throughout the Bachelor of Sport Development program. Sport Development Practices is a first year second semester core course in the Bachelor of Sport Development program. This course is designed to further students foundational understanding of the skills and knowledge required be an effective professional in the Sport Development industry.   The assessment objectives of this course include: (1) develop letter writing skills for gaining employment/work placement opportunities; (2) complete 10 hours of observational work placement; (3) conduct an informational interview with an industry mentor; and, (4) complete a reflective journal in the form of a poster.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

The Bachelor of Sport Development program equips students with the skills and knowledge to gain employment in a diverse range of jobs in the industry. It is essential students develop a range of employability skills during their time at university to ensure they are positioned well for employment upon graduation. As students ‘transition though’ to the program it is important they develop their professional identity, industry networks and undertake extra-curricular activities including volunteer work. The assessment in this course is designed to improve student’s employability and to ensure students are focused on the goal of achieving employment.

How career development is included

The curriculum and assessment in this course is designed to provide students with opportunities to start building a positive and professional graduate identity, facilitate workplace based learning and actively engage with the profession. In 1313AHS Sport Development Practices, students are required to source their own work placement and are required to complete 10 hours of observation at that work placement site. In doing so, students are required to write and submit an application letter aimed at the Sport Development organisation. This provides students with an opportunity to develop their job application skills, as the work placement letter is similar to a cover letter submitted when applying for a job. Students are provided with feedback on the letter before sending it out to prospective work placement sites.

Students are then required to undertake 10 hours of observation, shadowing a mentor in the Sport Development industry. This enables students to experience the everyday roles and responsibilities of the professional, while at the same time start developing industry networks and a professional identity. At the completion of the 10 hours of observation, students conduct an informational interview with their mentor. The purpose of the informational interview is to gather information about and pathways to employment in the specific job. Students then reflect on the information gained during the work placement observations and informational interview to produce a reflective journal in the form of a poster titled – ‘What it means to be a Sport Development Professional’. The following is an example of this assessment item:Student Example

Impact:

As evidenced by the student evaluation of course, students were highly satisfied and engaged, and found the employability focus to be beneficial for their future employment prospects.

Student Feedback

Comments from students include:

Allowing us to do work placement early in our academic career was really beneficial. Arranging opportunities for my future has become easier after developing these skills.
The ability to research jobs that are available to us upon graduation was a big benefit from this course. The assessment was tailored to help our future employment.
The assessment and teachings of the course were engaging and useful towards real experience outside of university. The assessments supplied us with information and experience that will be very important and useful in gaining a job after we leave.

School and course

Allied Health Sciences – 2030AHS Field Project A (Bachelor of Exercise Science)

Convenor

Dr Greg Reddan

Overview and objectives

Field Project A is an elective course in the Bachelor of Exercise Science program. The rationale for including this course is to make students aware of the requirements of the industry they wish to enter and the working environment of various organisations in which they may seek employment. The course is designed to link and complement the students’ program of study by introducing them to the work environment. The main purposes of this course are: a) to provide students with work experience within the industry they may seek to be employed; (b) to introduce students to various topics concerning the work environment; and (c) to outline career planning procedures. Students need to have successfully completed the first two years of the Bachelor of Exercise Science program to enrol in this course.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

The rationale for including career development in this course is to provide students with the opportunity for personal and career development through the four inter-related stages of Self, Opportunity, Aspirations and Results (SOAR). Furthermore, by introducing them to the work environment through a work-integrated learning placement (140 hours) in an area related to Exercise Science, students gain an understanding of workplace culture, expectations and the importance of teamwork.

How career development is included

SOAR is a tool developed by Arti Kumar (2007) that assists teachers operationalise and contextualise the ideals of career development learning. This model has been used as the basis for the development of Field Project A and focuses on Self-awareness, Opportunity awareness, Aspirations and Results. Using this model assists to develop realistic aspirations based on sound information that can help them achieve the outcomes they desire as they move into the workforce. A variety of activities are included over two days prior to the commencement of placement. These workshops are conducted by staff from Careers and Employment and the course convenor to collaboratively provide students with the necessary skills and information to complete two assignments related to career development. Students are required to create a Personal Profile through an enhanced understanding of their self-concept, an appreciation of their current position, and determining the processes necessary to achieve their goals.  Students also make connections between their self-concept and various aspects of a Personalized Occupational Study, in the context of the labour market and the changing world of work.  Field Project B, a complementary third year course, focuses on the Results element of the SOAR model, with an emphasis on the development of a resume, sourcing employment, writing applications, meeting selection criteria and interviews.

Impact

The impact of this course has enabled students to become more proactive, confident and motivated in making the most of opportunities to manage their careers and lifelong learning.  The course has provided a practical model for university academics and career development practitioners to work in a collaborative manner to produce graduates who can not only find satisfying employment, but also successfully manage their lifelong careers.

This course has allowed me to plan my last year at university wisely to be better prepared for the employment process. I honestly believe that anyone not taking this course will be disadvantaged to those who have.

Transition out

School and course

Criminology and Criminal Justice – 3007CCJ, Developing Professionally

Convenor

Dr Lyndel Bates (Mt Gravatt) and Ms Miria Bastock (Gold Coast)

Overview and objectives

Developing Professionally is designed to enable students to relate what they have already learned in their program about key concepts underlying the criminology and criminal justice systems to the kinds of careers available to them upon graduation. Participation in the course assists students to develop a broad understanding of the kinds of jobs available in the range of workplaces employing criminology and criminal justice graduates and of the knowledge and skills they demand. The course focuses on career development, linking theory and practice and reflective thinking skills. Students who wish to undertake the work integrated learning course Professional Practice (3008CCJ) need to obtain a 5 for the Developing Professionally course.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

A degree in criminology provides students with a broad base for a range of careers. By including career development within a course such as Developing Professionally, students are able to start identifying and consolidating their plans for commencing a particular career path. They are also given the tools and skills to start doing this.

How career development is included

Career development content is embedded throughout the course. There are four guest presenters from Careers and Employment Services who discuss strategies for career success, resume writing, selection criteria and cover letters as well as interviews. There are two guest presenters who discuss their career journey within the field of criminology and criminal justice. Generally, one of the presenters is from a traditional criminological area such as policing or corrections while the second presenter demonstrates the diversity of the degree in terms of careers for graduates.

Additionally, the course is run in a very hands on manner. The workshops enable students to actively consider how their university studies relate to professional work, the importance of matching their personal value system with organisations, the different ways of communicating in the workplace, the importance of self-care and resilience and creating a professional development plan.

If students wish to participate in Professional Practice, they need to apply these skills by writing an expression of interest containing a cover letter, responses to selection criteria and a resume. They also need to attend a panel interview. Once a placement is found, the students then attend an interview with the organisational supervisor.

Impact

The Student Evaluation of Courses indicate that they find this course enjoyable and useful with one student writing:

I think that I benefited a lot from taking this course. I found that I had no idea what I should be doing in my final year to prepare myself for the workplace, and to make myself appealing to future employers.

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice consider this course as very important and for students who commence their Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2015, the course is listed as core.

School and course

QCA Gold Coast Bachelor of Digital Media Industry Practice

Convenor

Rae Cooper

Overview and objectives

This course takes a progressive and dynamic approach to the launch of the creative practitioner from study to industry. With a student centred approach, students participate in the development of their assessment requirements. Understanding that every student has a unique past, skill set and plan for the future - this course allows individuals to develop outcomes that support and work specifically towards their individual professional aspirations.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

A creative practitioner who is ‘industry ready’ will have more than a strong body of work and skill set. They are reliable, punctual and present themselves appropriately. They can be both a solo artist and a team player. They understand the importance of budgets, funding and building relationships with stakeholders. They are self directed, take initiative and keep their ego in check. This course explores the requirements of creative industry practice though interactive and participatory teaching and learning.

In our rapidly expanding, globalised and technologically driven environment, today’s creative practitioner is required to utilize diverse strategies to create and expand professional opportunities. The growing availability of software, social media, electronic communication and ‘do-it-yourself-design’ has changed the nature of commercial opportunities and professional networking.

How career development is included

Informational interviews

Students will identify employment/professional goals after university. Connect with industry members and audit the current requirements or preferences of potential employers. Alternatively, students can connect with business mentors or develop plans for their individual pathways towards career development. This includes working for family businesses, combining career and family, consideration of cultural impacts and/or the identification of ‘what’s important in my life?’

Publication

Students design a page within the internationally distributed Gold Coast Creative magazine. This magazine is produced in conjunction with industry partners and designed by a team of student designers. This becomes a resource for students to show potential employers, advertise their services as professional creatives and showcase their creative outputs to a wide audience.

100-hour Internship

Armed with the knowledge that it can be difficult to gain employment without any prior experience, students source and plan an internship related to their employment goals. The WIL experience is graded based on a submission of ‘learning evidence’, within which students highlight their major learning outcomes, growth in thinking or future plans.

Compilation of works

Based on the outcome of assessment 1 and experience from assessment 3, students create a compilation of employment tools. Each student produces unique outcomes. Often outcomes include professional websites, creative portfolios, business cards, business plans, prototypes, media kits, product samples, exhibitions and social media.

Impact

The flexibility of this course combined with rich learning outcomes and a student centred approach, has resulted in a highly positive student experience and achievement in gaining employment. Beyond this, students leave with a better understanding of their own objectives, priorities and a manageable ‘action plan’ for their post graduation experience. Students comment that is the most useful course in their degree, frequently leading directly to full time employment, deeper understanding of the ‘complexities of oneself’, increased confidence and motivation. Students often experience a feeling of having more control over their future professional outcomes. They leave armed with the understanding that the future undoubtedly will contain challenges - but they have the resources to succeed and develop as life long learners.

School and course

Allied Health Sciences –3002AHS Field Project B (Bachelor of Exercise Science)

Convenor

Dr. Greg Reddan

Overview and objectives

The aim of this course is to enhance students’ awareness of the requirements and working environments of their preferred industry. It is scaffolded by a second year course, Field Project A (2030AHS) which introduces students to the industry as well as to career planning. Students in Field Project B undertake 140 hours work experience and participate in workshops on career development and graduate job search, in addition to receiving an extensive range of presentations provided by professionals from relevant industries. Students also present reflective reports of their field placement to their peers.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

As the Bachelor of Exercise Science is a rather generic degree, students need to be made aware of the many employment opportunities after graduation and the importance of being proactive in their job-searching. The course includes both career development learning and work-integrated learning with 13 two-hour workshops. Students are introduced to professional and personal techniques to assist them to gain entry into the workplace and to function successfully once they are in the workplace.

How career development is included:

Professional and career development is enhanced through the industry placement, the series of presentations with industry representatives (frequently recent graduates) and specific career development activities including:

  • Three two-hour workshops provided by Careers and Employment, covering career planning, job search, preparing effective resumes and job applications, meeting selection criteria and performing in job interviews.
  • Students are required to complete an entire ‘mock job application’ which includes preparation of a job application and resume for a specific position in their preferred industry. Staff from AHS, Careers and Employment, together with students form small groups to interview students and act as selection committees to assess and provide feedback on the participants’ application and interview performance.
  • Students also complete a structured reflection on their interview performance. The course is graded with the application letter, resume, and interview performance counting for 40% of the overall course assessment. The remaining 60% considers students’ performance on placement and the reflective presentations.

Impact

The comprehensive combination of mentoring in career development and job seeking, industry placement and exposure to a wide range of industry options has a powerful impact on students’ confidence for graduate employment. Furthermore, collaborative research between the course convenor and Careers and Employment staff (Reddan & Rauchle, 2012) has identified significant positive trends in students’ perceptions of the benefits of the course in terms of preparation for their careers. Students strongly supported the inclusion of career development in a work experience course, clearly identifying the link between career education and work-integrated learning.

Exemplars of all framework stages of career development

School and course

Griffith Science Professional Learning for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Extra-curricular Program

Convenor

Gayle Brent-Buchbach

Overview and objectives

Griffith Sciences PLUS is an extra-curricular program designed to encourage students to recognise and articulate their employability skills. The program is designed to be undertaken by students across the course of their degree, and is characterised by a series of activities students can undertake to increase the likelihood of securing graduate employment, with the long-term goal to inspire students to engage in lifelong learning.

The PLUS program is centred around the development of an ePortfolio, with the intent to encourage students to actively reflect on their experiences to consolidate their learning. The ePortfolio activity is also designed to inspire students to consider all of their experiences—both curricular and extra-curricular—when seeking to demonstrate and provide evidence of their skills and abilities.

Although PLUS is an extra-curricular award (not for credit points), some elements of PLUS will be embedded in courses throughout Griffith Sciences programs. In some cases this will be included in assessment (eg. an ePortfolio will be the means by which students present a project or information); or particular tasks, assignments or projects that have strong alignment with students future career goals, will be flagged as recommended for inclusion in the ePortfolio. PLUS will be developed in consultation with academic staff from each school to ensure the tasks students are required to complete align with the professional expectations for the relevant discipline. This is a unique aspect of the program when compared to others of its kind, as it seeks to integrate the PLUS award with program design across seven discipline areas within the Sciences Group.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

PLUS was developed to address a clear gap in students understanding of the steps they need to take while at University to increase their overall employability and potential for graduate success. The additional incentive for students to participate is the opportunity to gain recognition for their work and commitment in this area. Tangible rewards for students include priority access to career development events, personal guidance to develop an ePortfolio, the opportunity to collaborate with peers, and a personal recommendation from a senior staff member in the Sciences Group.

How career development is included

Students are given access to a Learning@Griffith Organisation featuring the PLUS “Map”. The “map” presents career development activities in a series of manageable steps in three key areas: Explore Your Options, Get Real Experience and Expand Your Prospects. These categories are roughly aligned to first year, middle years, and final year, although students in later years can still complete activities from the Explore and Experience categories.  The clear structure and “bite-sized” nature of the steps encourages students to engage in career development learning routinely, decreasing the likelihood they will simply “do nothing” because it seems overwhelming. Students in the Program are supported by regular workshops, weekly reminders via a newsletter and Facebook, individual consultation and collaborative group discussion.

Impact

A small trial version of the PLUS program ran in Semester 2, 2014 with a larger pilot program launched in Semester 1, 2015. Feedback from the trial suggests students valued the program because it made them aware of the steps they could take to increase their employability, and emphasised the necessity of starting career development activity early.

School and course

School of Medicine, Bachelor of Environmental Health and the Bachelor of Public Health

Project team

Dr Zoe Murray (Lead), Ass. Prof. Anne Roiko (Director BEH), Dr Bernadette Sebar (Director BPH), Ms Sharon Hensby (Careers and Employment Service), Dr Jessica Lee (Course Convenor), Ms Janine Chipperfield,  Ms Margaret MacLeod , Mr Ganeshan Rao (Griffith Health Curriculum, Assessment & Technology (CAT) Team).

Overview and objectives

In 2015 the School of Medicine, in partnership with Careers and Employment Service and the Griffith Health Curriculum, Assessment and Technology  Team, established  this project to support a scaffolded approach to career development through embedding e-Portfolios across the Bachelor of Public Health and Bachelor of Environmental Health programs.

The aim of the project is to enhance the employability of graduates through embedding a scaffolded employability framework across the BPH and BEH programs supported by the use of e-Portfolios.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

When university education was elite and demand for employing university graduates was high, graduates did not experience many difficulties entering the labour market. However, in recent times university graduates in developed countries are experiencing increasing difficulties in entering the labour market (Tran, 2010). The application of employability frameworks offers university programs the capacity to structure into their curriculum design, skills to equip students to achieve success in the contemporary world including the skills to enter the labour market.

This project focuses on embedding e-Portfolios use across the programs which provides a means for assessing and evaluating a learner’s work. As the learner builds their collection of work, it provides a powerful and comprehensive digital repository reflecting their achievement and capabilities based on evidence as they progress across the program of study. Furthermore, the process of building an e-portfolio enables students to be aware of and evaluate their own areas of strength and weakness and to identify the skills they have developed and those requiring more work.

How career development is included

Lifecycle stage

Employability framework: Stages of Career Development Learning Curriculum

The proposed embedding of e-Portfolios in the BPH programs

The proposed embedding of e-Portfolios in the BEH programs

Transition In

Learning and assessment items designed to   foster a sense of career direction, purpose and aspiration. Topics cover: Introducing   the professional field and the program and majors; Career direction;   exploring: Self-awareness, building on strengths; Professional field   awareness, future pathways; Building employability; Introducing digital   career literacy

1st year 1st semester

1977MED Introduction to Health promotion

  • Career   module
  • Set up e-Portfolio and commence recording

1st year 1st Semester 1111MED Introduction to Environmental Health

  • Career   module
  • Set up e-Portfolio and commence recording

Transition Through

Learning and assessment items designed to   consolidate a sense of purpose and capability and foster a sense of   employability and professional connection.    Key topics: Identifying strengths, skills and knowledge and their   relevance to the workplace

2nd Year 1st   Semester2214MED Public Health   Research Methods2nd Year 2nd   Semester 2218MED Needs Assessment,   Program  Planning and Evaluation Each of these courses to include an assessment   item which requires students to reflect on skills developed and its relevance   to the practice of their discipline. This to be recorded in their e-Portfolio

2nd Year 1st   Semester2214MED Public Health   Research Methods2nd Year 2nd   Semester2218MED Needs Assessment, Program   Panning and Evaluation2113MED Food and Drug Safety   Management Each of these courses to include an assessment   item which requires students to reflect on skills developed and its relevance   to the practice of their discipline. This to be recorded in their e-Portfolio

Transition Out

Capstone programs. Learning and assessment   items to foster a sense of graduate identity, professional community   membership, mastery and employability; Deepen ability to transfer knowledge   and skills to the workplace context and facilitate feedback on mastery;   Ensure industry standard ability to market capabilities, personal branding   etc; Continue professional  networking   and portfolio of experiences; Foster career resilience/wellbeing and PD plan   for after graduation; Digital career literacy for job search purposes; and   Prepare students for 'Transition Up' CDL self-directed tasks

3rd Year 1st   Semester3201MED_ Y1: Public Health   Practicum 1 Students update resumes, conduct   self-assessment audits, reflect on skills and attributes, and set development   goals for placements. These are recorded in their e-Portfolio

3rd Year 2nd Semester

3201MED.Y2: Public Health   Practicum 2Students complete placements, prepare reports   and reflect on their professional development. These are recorded in their   e-Portfolios.

3rd Year 1st   Semester3202MED Applied Environmental   Health Students update resumes, conduct   self-assessment audits, reflect on skills and attributes, and set development   goals for placements. These are recorded in their e-Portfolio

3rd Year 2nd Semester3133MED   Public Health Practicum Students complete placements, prepare reports   and reflect on their professional development. These are recorded in their   e-Portfolios.

Impact:

After the first six months of implementing the framework, students’ comments show a positive impact on their confidence. Third-year students commented:

‘This experience has made me reflect on my current strength and weaknesses which has allowed me to make some goals for improvement before graduations.’
‘Having done the learning activities, I am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly how these relate to employability. I am more aware of what skills and abilities employers are looking for, and more confident in being able to identify particular skills I need to improve.’
Feel I have a stronger ability to set time based goals and also long term future goals to strive towards in relation in my interested career path.
Allowed me to understand what planning process I need to go through.
Has really given me knowledge and confidence.
The learning activities allowed me to explore and identify my own strengths and weaknesses in regards to my own employability. I feel more confident in my knowledge of my own abilities.
Have begun to think towards the future and think about just what career I want to enter.
I feel I can work more productively and better in relation to career goals.
Helped me identify what will and won’t give me an advantage in relation to employability, Helped me learn what to do in terms of career development.
I just came to know what skills I need to proceed and what are the strengths that help me to achieve these skills and weakness that could hinder with my skills adoption.
I feel like I am more able to answer the question ‘what are you strengths?’
The activities in this course have effectively allowed me to become aware of my strengths and weaknesses in relation to employability.
Through information sessions I have been able to set achievable goals for my future employment.
Looking at what employers are looking for made me aware of my strengths and weaknesses.

While it is clear the first years appreciate starting to look at employability they also see a need to continue to revisit it and keep track of development:

‘ I feel that I am aware of my current strengths and weaknesses however do not know how relevant these are in terms of the job I want at the end of my degree. I believe these will change in a few years time.’
‘learning how and what questions to ask. Though I still feel I’m not ready as I am only in first semester.’
Emphasised that it is important to keep track of experience etc. (ePortfolio).

Program

Master of Rehabilitation Counselling

Convenors

Dr Christine Randall and Dr Vanette McLennan

Overview and objectives

The Master of Rehabilitation Counselling has a strong focus on career development and employability in terms of theories of career development and rehabilitation counsellor professional identity development, as well as integration between theory and practice. The focus is on preparing students to become work ready practitioners. Courses therefore have significant levels of work integrated learning from applying theory to case studies through to engaging with the industry in a number of ways.

Rationale for inclusion of career development

Rehabilitation counsellors are career development practitioners focused on working with people who experience disability or injury. Rehabilitation counsellors therefore learn about career development and apply it for their clients, and should also have a strong professional identity and career plan for themselves. This contributes to their understanding of inter-professional practice and their own contribution as a rehabilitation counsellor to working with other allied health professionals.

Rehabilitation counselling is a specialist profession that draws on a multidisciplinary background and as such does not have as clearly prescribed professional identity as many other professions. Rehabilitation counsellor students, particularly those studying online, can therefore struggle to fully grasp the subtleties of the rehabilitation counselling profession. To address this issue, the Master of Rehabilitation Counselling takes an intentional and scaffolded approach to embedding career and professional development within the program.

How career development is included

Throughout the program we use case studies, videos of practicing rehabilitation counsellors and realistic assessment items such as professional rehabilitation counsellor practice reports. Specifically:

  • In 7003hsv Introduction to Rehabilitation Counselling, the companioning process requires students to meet with practicing rehabilitation counsellors – see further details below.
  • 7002hsv Applied Counselling requires students to video record themselves conducting a counselling process and reflect on the skills demonstrated for assessment.
  • In 7005hsv Vocational Evaluation, students conduct a vocational evaluation process and in 7011hsv Job Development and Placement they conduct a labour market survey and a job task analysis with real employers, culminating in an occupational report about a person with disability.
  • In 7020hsv Injury and Disability Management, students are required to critically look at the personal injury industry as well as write an injury management report based on a real person or a case scenario. In preparation for the field placement, students prepare their CV and are encouraged to research field placement opportunities and approach organisations similar to a job search process.

Each of these courses and practice focused assessment items contribute to students’ preparation for field placement, where these skills are assessed against the rehabilitation counselling competencies in a real practice context.

Innovations within the Master of Rehabilitation Counselling

  • The Master of Rehabilitation Counselling takes an integrated program experience approach to research with the intention of integrating learning and building students’ professional identity as rehabilitation counsellors. All students choose a topic relevant to rehabilitation counselling practice during the introductory course, design a small research project, and conduct it across 5 of the 8 core courses in the Masters program. The program level research project culminates in a theory to practice focus within their practicum placement/capstone course.
  • The case study interactive promotes theory-practice integration, work integrated learning and inter-professional learning for students across Health disciplines. The case study interactive currently has 18 scenarios in 7 disciplines, allowing students to work with virtual clients. Students choose a scenario and work through a staged process that simulates working with a real client, or community, including steps such as goal setting, planning and intervention. Students are facilitated to consider issues at each step, keep case notes, and are provided with relevant templates and resources, as well as new issues along the way. The interactive is available for use in courses such as ethics, case management, injury management, vocational evaluation, job placement, disability studies and mental health. The interactive promotes the concept of working with real clients, motivating students to relate more realistically to their virtual client and providing the opportunity to apply theoretical frameworks in this interactive inter-professional learning environment.
  • Viewing WIL as a continuum, rather than only as field placement. As noted above students are engaged in a wide range of industry/profession relevant learning activities and assessment tasks, each of which contributes to students’ work integrated learning. Another form of WIL within the MRC is the Companioning Process where students meet with a Rehabilitation Counsellor in their local area to explore theory to practice links and issues of professional identity.

Impact

The scaffolded career development and professional identity building throughout the Master of Rehabilitation Counselling program fosters growing professional networks for students. The activities (such as the companioning process), contribute to students and staff engaging with professional associations (RCAA & ASORC), peak bodies and rehabilitation industries, strengthening individual student identity, which in turn strengthens the profession.

Impact of the Employability Framework

While the Master of Rehabilitation Counselling program has a strong focus on career development, professional identity and employability, this project has caused the convenors to reflect on what more could be done, especially towards the end of the program to Transition Up. These ideas include using a career portfolio from 7003hsv though to the field placement and creating a LinkedIn site for current and past students.

School and course

Queensland Conservatorium, Bachelor of Music/Music Technology, My Life as a Musician (Strand of Courses)

Convenor

Ms Diana Tolmie

Overview and objectives

Tolmie’s philosophy of MLAAM is to allow students to develop a positive career identity, create effective and efficient degree engagement, and develop the foundation for degree transition to future employment via the education of hard and soft skills required for a career in the music industry. For MLAAM, the ongoing challenge is to introduce the realities of life as a musician, respect and nurture individual students’ aspirations while vocationally preparing for both. The overarching teaching goal has evolved to maintain real, relevant, respectful and inspiring course delivery allowing a personalised positive student experience of higher education and vocational perception.

Rationale for inclusion of career development:

It had become apparent from the research of Associate Professor Gemma Carey and Professor Don Lebler that Queensland Conservatorium students desired the education of non-music business skills required to sustain a career in music within their degree. Disillusionment with, and questioning the validity of, their degree was a common theme amongst research participants. Following a revision of the Bachelor of Music programme, the MLAAM vocational preparation strand was introduced in 2011.

How career development is included:

MLAAM is a suite of courses developed by Queensland Conservatorium Lecturer, Diana Tolmie, implemented in 2011. With revisions in response to her research and student feedback, the current delivery is one compulsory semester in year one, three and four of a 4-year Bachelor of Music degree.

The first year targets the transitioning period from school to university life, engagement with degree, and awareness of musician’s health and industry knowledge. Assessment is based on assessing theoretical knowledge, 5-year planning to incorporate degree engagement and transition to industry life, and networking with current industry active musicians.

The third year delivery encompasses persuasive writing in the form of a grant application, self-promotion materials and, event planning and management. For the latter students work in groups to comprehend the realistic non-music organisational administration roles encountered post-graduation. The crux of this course is to gain an awareness of political, economic, socio-cultural and technological forces that impact a musician’s career. Following which to adopt the best strategies to creatively capitalize on such.

The fourth year is centred on persuasive speaking in the form of 1) an audit and presentation on a current music going-concern, 2) creative pitch and 3) personal fundraising strategies. Once again, students work in groups in order to exploit synergies of creative ideas, share career confidences and consider sustainable administration practices. In addition, assessment tasks require exercising networking practices with the industry they will be graduating into, if not already immersed. Presentations are peer-reviewed, encouraging a mature peer-learning environment.

Impact:

Over the years the course has received improving student experience of course results, with students stating,

“The assessment was personally relevant to our lives as student musicians – building on, rather than just duplicating the content lectures” (First-year student, SEC 2013)

“I particularly enjoyed the last assignment because we got to talk to music professionals” (First-year student, SEC 2013)

“This course has also helped me to understand what I would like to do both within my degree and after I graduate” (First-year student, SEC 2013)

For the older students,

“I felt the level of work vs. learning outcome was extremely worthwhile and felt that this course has given me a competitive edge over others who haven't completed it” (Third-year student, SEC 2014)

“I gained a clearer understanding of how musical organisations function and learnt of a variety of roles that need to be fulfilled. The assessment was realistic and approachable. All the required tasks required some genuine research into a music business. The presentation side of the assessment also gave me a chance to hone my public speaking skills” (Fourth-year student reflection, 2014)

There has been a noticeable increase in students requesting personal time to discuss private ventures, fundraising strategies as well as music industry dilemmas. Students are gaining confidence to create their own music opportunities as is evidenced by Simon Drew’s MusoHaven, Third-year Kathryn O’Halloran’s Brisbane City Opera, and Matthew Schwartz’s Queensland Philharmonia Orchestra, a student-run and performing orchestra.

From those graduating:

“Just thought I would let you know how I am going outside of con. Life is great! I successfully got 3 jobs in one day - with a massive thanks to your MLAAM subject. They said my resume and cover letter read well - and they also looked at my website (which they all liked). In my interview they said I interviewed well too!” (Cassandra Hansen, 2014)

Career development education

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