Full paper Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Student engagement for employability: A belonging project case study (#28)

Natalie Araujo 1 , Bronwyn Clarke 1 , Rachel Wilson 1
  1. Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

 Employers, universities and professional bodies agree that Australia needs to develop professionals who are highly skilled and ready to face the challenges of increased global competition (Universities Australia, 2014; Bridgestock, 2011; Crossman & Clarke, 2010; Wye & Lim, 2009). More than ever there is a need for professionals who are responsive to economic, social, cultural/global, technical and environmental change. Graduates must work flexibly and intelligently across a range of business contexts including self-employment, networked clusters of small-to-medium enterprises, sole-traders and micro-businesses (Wright, Davis, and Bucolo, 2013; McHanon, 2012; Creigh-Tyte and Thomas, 2001). In turn this requires a broad range of employability skills and knowledge learned in many contexts and through a range of experiences.

This paper draws on the principles and findings of The Belonging Project, a four-year qualitative research project based at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. To date, The Belonging Project has explored curricular and co-curricular interventions to support the development of key employability capacities across the whole of student lifecycle. The Belonging Project’s research has highlighted the importance of supporting the development of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and global/intercultural competencies throughout the entire curriculum, rather than primarily in first year and final year offerings. This paper draws on focus group data, interviews, and participant observation in an analysis of pilot project case studies. These case studies form the basis for a model for a whole of student life cycle approach to student engagement for employability. 

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

This paper documents and analyses a holistic approach to educating graduates to be responsive and adaptable professionals.  It draws on relevant case studies to argue that the core professional capabilities that students require to be successful in the current economic climate must be introduced early, iterative, and consistently pedagogically embedded throughout the student experience. 

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  2. Bridgstock, R. (2011). Skills for creative industries graduate success. Education+ Training, 53(1), 9-26.
  3. Crossman, J. E., & Clarke, M. (2010). International experience and graduate employability: stakeholder perceptions on the connection. Higher Education, 59(5), 599-613.
  4. Wye, C. K., & Lim, Y. M. (2009). Perception differential between employers and undergraduates on the importance of employability skills. International education studies, 2(1), 95.
  5. Wright, N., Davis, R., & Bucolo, S. (2013, May). The creative citizen: understanding the value of design education programs in the knowledge economy. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers Vol. 4, pp. 2230-2248.
  6. McMahon, K. (2012). The business of fashion: entrepreneurship and enterprise learning for the new ‘creative’ global marketplace–the Australian case study [Abstract]. Development of International Network in Fashion Business Education, 1-12.
  7. Creigh-Tyte, A., & Thomas, B. (2001) Employment. In S. Selwood (Ed.), The UK Cultural Sector: Profile and Policy Issues. London: Policy Studies Institute, 250–279.
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