Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Employability learning: Collaboratively embedding employability and research skills in a Master’s degree (#20)

Lynette Torres 1 , Steven Yates 1 , Glen Croy 2 , Kohyar Kiazad 1 2 , Andrea Howell 1 , Josephine Hook 1 , Judi Green 3
  1. University Library, Monash University, Australia, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Business School, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia
  3. Careers, Leadership and Volunteering, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia

 Background: Australia’s graduate employment levels are decreasing as more students complete degrees, and tumultuous economic conditions constrain opportunities (Graduate Careers Australia, 2014). Employers, with further choice, select agile graduates with the skills to navigate the complexities of workplace change. As such, student demand for Master’s degrees is increasing to acquire knowledge specialisation and broaden skills beyond those acquired through undergraduate degrees. The enhanced student and employer emphasis on masters to develop employability profiles requires a diversification of curricula to incorporate skills for work-readiness. This presentation proposes a collaborative initiative to embed employability and research skills in a Business Master’s unit to generate graduates with employability learnings.

The initiative : The initiative describes a method of embedding research and employability skills in curricula using two related frameworks, the Work Skill Development (WSD) framework (Bandaranaike & Willison, 2009), and the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework (Willison & O’Regan, 2006, 2014). The frameworks provided a platform to inform approaches to employability skills curriculum and assessment design. A successful inter-professional collaboration between academics, library, careers and employment staff have re-developed a Master’s unit that focuses on professional career success.

  Method: The project was to collaboratively redesign and develop a masters unit for career success, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the RSD and WSD to achieve this aim. We used a formative design research method incorporating a cyclical evaluation process including expert review from educational designers during key phases

Effectiveness: From the collaboration, we describe success factors, insights and challenges at different developmental phases. Evidence draws on key themes from stakeholder reflections during the cyclic evaluations. Using collaborative design approaches, we evidence successful outcomes addressing educational challenges to develop employability skills curricula. This presentation is valuable to educators considering inter-professional collaboration for curriculum review and renewal to enhance students’ work-ready skills.

  1. Graduate Careers Australia (2014). GradStats: employment and salary outcomes of recent higher education graduates. Accessed on 8th February, 2015 from: content/uploads/2014/12/GCA_GradStats_2014.pdf
  2. Bandaranaike, S., & Willison, J. (2009). Work Skills Development Framework
  3. Bandaranaike, S., & Willison, J. (2010). Work Skill Development Framework: An innovative assessment for Work Integrated Learning. Paper presented at the 2010 ACEN National Conference, (pp. 1-18), Perth, September 29-October 1, 2010.
  4. Torres, L., Banderanaike, S., & Yates, S. (2014). 'What skills do I have? What skills will I need?’- Building an employability skills profile through an online reflective practice tool. Paper presented at the Paper presented to the 10th International Symposium on Cooperative & Work-Integrated Education, University West, Trollhattan, Sweden. June 2-4, 2014.
  5. Willison, J., & O'Regan, k. (2006, 2014). Research Skill Development Framework. From Accessed on 14th February, 2015.