Mini Workshop Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

New tools to support the development of responsive, adaptable work ready graduates (#43)

Kate Perkins 1 , Sue Goodwin 2
  1. Australian Council for Educational Research, Camberwell, VIC, Australia
  2. Ithaca Group, Toowong, Qld, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

Despite the considerable attention paid to graduate employability in recent years, employers continue to complain that graduates are not ‘work ready’. A recent project conducted by Ithaca Grouptfound that employer concerns were rarely about academic skills, but were more likely to relate to skills that characterise responsive and adaptive professionals, like communication, interpersonal and self-management skills, and the ability to adapt to organisational expectations.

The project led to the development of a new work readiness conceptual framework which can be used in the design of curricula that balance student, academic and employer  priorities. In this highly interactive workshop, participants will consider how the framework can be used in conjunction with the Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework (CSfW) and Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) to help students become responsive, adaptable ‘work ready’ professionals.


Academics and Associate Deans (L&T) and policy makers.


What are employers saying?
Presentation of key project findings; introduction to the Work Readiness framework and CSFW

What are we doing? What could we do?
Participants will use the frameworks to review their current programs, identifying strengths and areas where students' non-technical skill development could be more effectively fostered

Practical strategies
Participants will:

- trial a tool that fosters active listening and deep reflection – critical skills for the responsive, adaptive professional

- consider how they might use the CSFW and FSAT for fostering, monitoring and assessing student skill development over time.

Intended outcomes

Participants will:

- gain insights into stakeholder perspectives of  ‘work readiness’

- identify the strengths of their current practice and identify ways in which the new frameworks and strategies might be used to enhance their programs.

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

The frameworks that will be introduced in this workshop provide a common language for describing the skills that characterise a responsive and adaptable professional, and for benchmarking and monitoring progress over time.  They introduce a degree of precision into discussions about ‘work readiness’,  ‘graduate capabilities’ and ‘responsive and adaptable professionals’ that has been missing in the past, and this has the potential to change the nature of the graduate employability debate.  

The frameworks and strategies also offer a way forward because they provide a means of focusing attention and targeting skills development. The workshop will be designed so that participants can contextualise the frameworks and consider ways in which these might be used to enhance their programs. For example, the CSFW can be used to articulate and align employer, academic and student expectations prior to a work placement, and for monitoring and reporting back on the development of an identified skill during that placement.

The workshop process will incorporate strategies that the presenters have used extensively in university and professional contexts to facilitate the development of core skills that are critical to the development of responsive, adaptable, empathetic, reflective professionals who can learn, work and thrive in a complex world.