Published on March 13, 2014
Enhancing employability through experiential learning - a project-based approach Stephen Grady: University of Wolverhampton Business School Gareth Jones: In-Comm Training and Business Services Laurren Wood-Bowness: BA (Hons) Business Management Student Amarpreet Kaur: BA (Hons) Marketing Management Student HEA Workshop: 14th November 2013
Key elements: IN-COMM live project Recent Graduates • Lead generated by the Business Engagement Team - promoting student projects as a way of reinforcing relationships with business organisations; • Business organisations looking for students to support them in meeting their objectives; • Original academic driver for the projects was to facilitate the transition from education to employment – therefore aimed at recent graduates; • Recognised that if the task was sufficiently demanding (involving high level skills), a team based approach could yield multiple benefits for a variety of stakeholders; • Specific project : 6-8 weeks duration Local (Walsall) SME – 26 employees Training organisation specialising in the engineering sector Task - development of a marketing strategy Current Students Company Stakeholder Academic Mentor
Information retrieval skills, numerical skills, problem solving skills, independent working skills Decision making skills, strategic skills Communication skills, team working skills Decision making skills, strategic skills, independent working skills Communication skills, team working skills Academic Mentor: team working skills, leadership skills, personal learning and development skills Company Stakeholder: strategic skills, personal learning and development skills
Organisational/employer context and perspectives • In-Comm Training & Business Services • Managerial culture & attitudes • External perception of In-Comm's activities • Opinions of employees
Student team member comments… “Great job yesterday, I think we had some very surprising results and I'm looking forward to putting it all together.” “If you could send me your write ups, and anything else you may have done for the project, I'll whack it together on Sunday.” “Just a quick update, I have booked for us all to go in on Thursday next week. We're all looking forward to it, well I am, I want to see what the thoughts are on the floor about the management structure! Can't wait!” “Very much looking forward to beginning this project!” “I am very aware that the anticipated start date for the IN- COMM Training program is next week... it's not an opportunity I want to let slip through my fingers!” “This sounds like a really great opportunity, thank you for believing in me enough to allow me partake!” “I've just received the information for the project. The business itself seems really interesting, as I'm reading through its business plan, marketing tools are jumping into my head as ways to analyse parts of it – Ansoff; BCG Matrix … Looks like a really interesting project, looking forward to getting started-will be able to learn a lot from this!” “I would definitely be interested in an opportunity like this. I have had experience with the CRM system, using it at a placement with Marketing Birmingham.”
What do the students get out of it? • The chance to learn in a professional environment; • Making our education “multi-dimensional”; • Team and individual working; • Networking; • Work experience (and sampling); • Investigating what motivates real employees; • Provide possible career direction and perspective.
Skills – a student perspective: • Employability skills! • Project management • Research • Communication • Networking • Time management • Ability to meet deadlines • Effective note taking • Academic writing • Understanding leadership within an organisation • Recognising and solving problems.
Student engagement in the delivery of the project outcomes – an employer perspective • Students as individuals • Student/organisation interaction • True/accurate reflection
Issues to consider • Recruitment of the appropriate abilities/skills mix from the students and graduates in order to deliver the project outcomes; • Significant up-front investment of time by the academic mentor – the higher the level of skills, the greater the need for stakeholder meetings and management of expectations, development of a detailed project brief, use of dedicated project management tools; • Matching staff expertise and commitment to project leads; • Identification of leads, benefits and costs of project based approach; • Impact on graduate employability/DLHE stats and action learning benefits for current students; • Management of employability enhancement culture within the HE environment; • Helps enhance staff expertise, maintain the currency of their own learning, and increases case study materials for use in the classroom.
development of student and graduate employability ... Grady S, Jones G, and Wood-Bowness ... Enhancing employability through experiential learning ...
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