Student Employability has become a much higher priority for FE and HEI’s and so as for Trent Education center
Key areas of particular interest for higher education providers are:
- innovations in promoting the employability and entrepreneurial skills of students;
- how employers are involved in the delivery and development of the curriculum;
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has developed a framework for the skills it considers important to employability. These include functional skills including using numbers and IT, a set of personal attributes including thinking critically and self-management, as well as having a positive approach to work and employment. Current notions of what it means to be enterprising are closely linked to this. They draw upon the characteristics of the enterprise mindset which constitute a set of personal skills, attributes, behavioural and motivational capacities (associated with those of the entrepreneur) but which can be used in any context including social, work and leisure. (Wilkinson and Aspinall, 2006) Prominent among these are for example, initiative taking and strategic thinking.
Employability has been described as being “about having the capability to gain initial employment, maintain employment and obtain new employment if required. For the individual, employability depends on:
- their assets in terms of the knowledge, skills and attitudes they possess;
2. the way they use and deploy those assets;
3. the way they present them to employers, and crucially
4. the context (e.g. personal circumstances and labour market environment) within which they see work.” (Hillage and Pollard, 1998.)
Trent Education Center has a strong commitment to providing high quality vocational programmes which are skills-focused and employer relevant and which support employability.
The College accepts that there is a need for a stronger focus on addressing local economic needs, and to involve the local business community far more in the activities of the College. This has been reinforced by a clearer appreciation of the fact that the majority of learners live locally, and intend to remain in the area when seeking employment.
TEC is promoting strong links with local employers, who provide realistic assignment briefs and guest tutors, take placement students and recruit from the College. A particular strength of the College is that many of the teaching staff come from a relevant commercial/industrial background and some continue to practice in the industry. Practitioners bring a strong sense of realism to the teaching, which is highly valued by students.
Challenges for Student Employability
The Major challenges to student employability in United Kingdom are,
- The impact of technology;
- The environment;
- Societal changes and mobility;
- Student and societal expectations;
- Student engagement with employability initiatives;
CREATE is the official employability skills program of Trent Education Center that addresses the challenges to graduate employment and supports the National theme of employability. Its stands for;
C Commercial Skills
R Relational Skills
E Enterprise Skills
T Technical Skills
E Emotional Intelligence
CREATE is officially generated by Trent Education Center after consulting multiple authentic official resources such as Pearson and Confederation of Business and Industry (CBI) surveys, Chamber of Commerce surveys, UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Graduate Skills from leading institutions in UK such as Cambridge, LSE, Imperial, Bristol, Manchester, King’s College etc, ASET Best Practice, Higher Education Academy and Sector Skills Councils surveys.
Trent Education Center aims to embed employability in its culture and promote it among its learners and stakeholder by using the following mechanism;
Industry in the Classroom – Speakers from the industry/local employers are invited to TEC to share their experiences and industry updates with our learners.
Work based learning – TEC has arrangements in place for student’s placements and internships so that our learners receive a taste of work environment whole they study with us.
Employer involvement in Course Design – TEC engages with employers to obtain feedback and reviews on its courses. Employers provide a valuable source of feedback on the choice of modules/electives and making bespoke courses.
Business Mentoring Relationships – TEC is developing business mentoring relationships with local employers that would benefit our learners in gaining practical experience and professional mentors from industry.
Business Incubation Center – TEC aims to provide on campus facilities to its learners so that their entrepreneurial skills and ventures are supported. We provide work stations, printing, internet, counselling and other facilities to our learners for their new/existing ventures.
External Visits – External visits to other higher education institutions, organizations, industry, Air bases and Military garrisons etc are arranged so that our learners can become a part of real corporate world and get a direct experience of leadership and management.
Following activities are also planned to be incorporated with the TEC official Employability Policy in near future;
- Use the Subject benchmark statements to identify generic/transferable skills which students develop;
- Involve employers – as an external reference point – in programme design and approval processes;
- Ensure that Learning and Teaching practices are informed by evaluation of professional practice, in particular where the teacher is a practitioner;
- Recruit external examiners/assessors from business, industry or the professions;
- Chart the employment record for TEC students who have become employed after completing their studies and obtain feedback from them and their employers;
- Create a Student Alumni (embed it in social media for sharing student experiences);
- Organize career guidance workshops by employers by inviting managers/employers on campus and delivering career opportunity workshops to students;
- Employer led Employability Workshops on Campus, Career Development Planning Course and Academic Skills course;
- Student Academic Partnership (SAP) – paid student internships (entrepreneurship society, students mentoring students, passport to practice (online system), Team consultancy project (students solving real business problems for charities and local enterprises);
- Business Launch Pad – (train students to create business plans and take such plans for funding to various platforms);
- Form links with other higher education institutions regarding employability theme;
- Company visits for students. Insight days – offered and advertised by employers aimed at undergraduate students;
- Work Shadowing – short term, informal activities where a student will spend time on company premises but will have no contract or expectation of making a working contribution as it is an observational activity;
- Take students to employment related workshops and seminars such as CIPD recruitment and interviewing skills conferences;
- Ensure students have access to industry standard learning resources, e g, magazines, journals, ebsco;
- Student Award – STAR (Students Taking an Active Role) recorded on HEAR. The award decided by an assessment the nature of which may be dictated by local employers as judges;
- Student union; student newsletter; articles on student blog on college website, create you tube presentations; group projects on courses and modules,
- Employer engagement such as requests for research, consultancy, collaboration and enterprise activities; strategic partnerships and consortiums; advisory boards; requests for bespoke courses; career and guidance activities, sharing opportunities such as job vacancies, internships and placements; job fairs; employer representation on the Board of Directors; engagement with professional bodies; formal membership of approval panels.