Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Package it and they will come—Preparing for a complex global workplace! (#41)

Anna Tayler 1 , Anna Lichtenberg 1
  1. Careers and Employment Centre, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

Engaging all students to begin early preparation for a competitive, global workplace can be challenging when “for-credit coursework assessments” naturally take precedence. Graduation can seem a long way off. Developing and practising transferable professional, employability and career skills takes time (ABCD, 2010). Valuable extra-curricular opportunities to increase transferable skills are often missed.  

The Careers Employability Award program was implemented in 2014. The program was reconfigured with a number of initiatives to increase student engagement: i) re-packaging of modules into a cohesive program; ii) accessibility and interactivity was enhanced; iii) online modules were gamified; and, iv) formal certification on successful completion. Online modules incorporated gaming principles (using Challenge application).  In the 2014 pilot program 200 participants were offered a selection of accessible and gamified modules, support with work based leaning experiences with formal university certification on successful completion.  In 2014 twenty-two of these students completed all requirements and will be awarded the Curtin Extra Certificate on graduation for their extra-curricular efforts.

The re-packaged and reformatted program was implemented in 2014 with 200 interested participants.  Participants involved in the pilot extra‐curricular program completed:

- a selection of 8 from 12 modules (available as workshops or online modules);

- a minimum of 22 hours of work-based experience; and,

- reflection exercises.

All module participants completed pre and post feedback sheets rating their confidence levels on session topics. Feedback was also gathered on the interactive online experience using the Challenge application.

Student engagement and retention in completing the packaged program showed positive trends. Participation in modules was enhanced with a 334% increase in workshop participation between Aug—Dec in 2013 and 2014. Short-term findings from participants’ pre and post session responses showed a clear positive shift in student confidence levels. By December 2014 twenty-two participants had completed all requirements. Follow up on participants’ long-term employment success continues. 

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

 Developing life-long learners and graduates with well developed professional, employability and career capabilities for a complex global workplace is the foundation of a comprehensive career development program. Graduates need to be helped to become independent and self-efficacious in adapting in a continually changing, complex and global work environment. This needs to begin early in tertiary studies to enable time and full access to opportunities to full prepare professionally and for transitions. Engaging students early in extra-curricular programs is a challenge needing attention.

This new initiative presents a comprehensive packaged approach that aims to:

i) better motivate and engage students in their studies and encourage early involvement with extra-curricular programs;

ii) enhance accessibility, interaction, and efficiency in learning via online gaming strategies;

iii) enhance student understanding of the career development construct and its importance for personal achievement, and thriving in changing contexts. (172)

Engaging students early in tertiary studies enables sufficient time and opportunities to develop career resilience by practising relevant transferable skills, gaining industry/workplace experiences, networking and actively reflecting.

  1. Australian Blueprint for Career Development, (ABCD), (2010) (Accessed 10 February 2014 from ent.pdf
  2. Curtin University, (2014). Careers Employability Award. (Accessed on 9 Feb 2015 from )