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E&E Conference 2017 - 'Preparing Our Students for Their Future Work'

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Eldon Building

Winston Churchill Avenue



United Kingdom

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Event description


'Preparing Our Students for Their Future Work'

Staff Development Conference

Date: Tuesday 25th April 2017

Time: 8:45 - 14:00

Location: Eldon West 1.11

Following on from the success of the Department of Employability’s conference last April we are delighted to announce the date for this year’s Employability and Enterprise conference.

Our theme this year is Preparing Our Students for Their Future Work. The conference will provide an opportunity to look at the challenges of the student journey towards career success. Keynote speaker, Doug Cole (HEA) joins us to provide insights into effective learning and teaching for employability and enterprise.

Breakout sessions led by academic colleagues and Purple Door staff will focus on the following areas that will support the employability and enterprise agenda at the University of Portsmouth.

  • Sharing best practice – an opportunity to hear from colleagues delivering employability and enterprise in the curriculum

  • Hearing from our students – the student perspective (what do they really think about employability and enterprise initiatives?!)

  • Research-informed practice – hearing how University of Portsmouth research can shape how we deliver this agenda in a meaningful way for our students

We will wrap up the morning with a Q and A panel discussion. The panel will consist of students from across the faculties and James Belmonte (President of UPSU) who will provide observations from the day.

08:45 - 09.15 Registration
09.15 - 09.20 Welcome
09.20 - 10.00 Doug Cole (HEA)
10.00 - 10.50 Workshops
10.50 - 11.10 Break
11.10 - 12.00 Workshops
12.10 - 13.00 Student Panel Q&A's & Observations from James Belmonte (President of UPSU)
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch and Networking

Keynote: - Preparing our students for their future work – rethinking employability? Doug Cole (HEA)
Employability and enterprise are currently key concerns for governments around the world and for the majority of Higher Education Institutions in the UK and this has been further heightened by the teaching excellence framework. However, the terms themselves are hugely misunderstood, with the discourse often narrowed to being about skills, simply getting that first job or starting your own business. If we want to effectively support our students and help them prepare for their future work, and life beyond, it is critical that we pause, reflect on our current thinking and practical approaches and ask the questions are we focusing on the right things and are we getting it right?

Parallel Sessions:
Parallel #1:

Preparing business and law students for sustainable careers: research informed strategies for curriculum development

Facilitators: - Charlotte Harrison, Principle Lecturer & Alex Tymon, Senior Lecturer

This session will draw on our academic research and our experience as lecturers in the Portsmouth Business School. We will explore the evidence base from the employability literature and, in particular, from Alex’s body of research in the areas of: the student perspective; the power of proactivity; and the social capital perspective.

We will share findings from our current research project relating to graduate employability and the teaching of career management skills. This project evaluates a core Level 5 career management unit for Law students which was designed around the CareerEdge model of employability[1]. In this unit, seminar activities are framed around a simulated graduate recruitment process, and supplemented by short “Brand Me” presentations and guided reflection. We will explore early indications that students’ self-awareness, self-efficacy and self-esteem has increased, and that this has had a positive impact on overall confidence levels. We will also discuss findings relating to the development of students’ career management skills.

We will end the session by opening the floor to discuss the challenges of encouraging engagement with career management units, and developing meaningful content, which has to compete with other core course consent and assessment deadlines. We hope participants will leave with renewed enthusiasm for the transformative learning which can take place within these units, and some suggestions for curriculum development.

[1] Dacre Pool, L. & Sewell, P. (2007) The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education + Training, 49(4), 277-289.

Parallel #2:

"The Self-Employment Placement - what is it all about and why should we encourage more students to engage?"
Facilitators: - Emma Austin, Senior Lecturer, Media and Employability & Enterprise Coordinator CCI, Lynda Povey, Enterprise Adviser, nest

"The University of Portsmouth's' Education Strategy lists the Hallmarks of a Portsmouth Graduate. These Hallmarks include having an 'enterprising spirit, being able to work in a range of environments and being able to synthesise new and existing knowledge to generate ideas and develop creative solutions to the benefit of the economy and society". In this 45 minute session, e will discuss how the Self-Employment Placement opportunity supports our students to develop these skills and behaviours. In the last academic year 25 students from Technology, Business and CCI have opted to undertake this rewarding sandwich year. We will share the experiences of promoting and managing the delivery of the SEP across all Faculties and use the CCI Blueprint as an example of good practice. There will also be an opportunity to hear from those students currently on their SEP year.

As a result of attending this session you will have a greater understanding of the value of the SEP and will be able to articulate this offering clearly to your students."

Parallel #3:

Preparing Social Work students for the rigours of practice; developing personal resilience and employability of our graduates.
Facilitators: - Chris Penney, Senior Lecturer and final year BSc (Hons) Social Work students

The BSc (Hons) Social Work programme at the University of Portsmouth is at an all-time time high in terms of NSS feedback, overall satisfaction and employability statistics. Whilst the teaching team are rightfully proud of this achievement, there is no room for complacency.

The current curriculum has been developed through strong partnership arrangements with social work service providers, service users, contemporary knowledge of practice and through listening and more importantly acting upon feedback. Feedback such as; Subject Regulatory Bodies, internal and external sources and most importantly from our students. In shaping the curriculum we have embedded simulation as a core practice developmental learning approach. In addition we have focussed on the need to develop core criticality concepts, drawing upon a ‘golden thread’ of knowledge typology as a means to enhance analytical understanding of social work interventions and practice.

Social work is a profession where longevity in frontline practice is acknowledged as limited, current research suggests that this employability span is reducing. In direct response to the needs of the future workforce we deliver specific and focussed learning throughout the programme on developing personal and professional resilience. Assignments are designed to emulate practice demands and the reality of being employed.

We will share with you a number of the above themes and invite a dialogue between the audience, staff and students.

Parallel #4:

Keynote Speaker workshop - A methodology for employability
Facilitator: - Doug Cole (HEA)

  • Why does employability matter to me?

  • We are already doing it, what else can we do?

  • Where will we find the time?

This workshop will provide an opportunity to consider these questions and for participants to be introduced to a methodology for addressing, embedding and evaluating employability in learning and teaching. It will demonstrate how participants can seek to enhance their practice by engaging with ideas and approaches that are informed by research and best practice from across the UK sector.

Through practical group tasks participants will be shown how developing the curriculum with employability in mind and aligning this with extra-curricular opportunities can potentially have a positive impact on students and how the Embedding Employability in Higher Education Framework is an ideal vehicle to support this.

Parallel #5:

Competency Interviews are no longer the first choice of many graduate recruiters: Supporting your students through strength based interviews.
Facilitators: - Liz Holford, Careers Adviser Science, Jacqui Adams, Careers Adviser, PBS

  • We are used to coaching students and they are used to preparing for competency based interviews. However more recruiters are moving towards using strength based interview questions which are harder to predict and therefore much harder to prepare for

  • Competences are things you can do whereas strength based assessment focuses on what an individual enjoys doing

  • In this participative and practical session we will examine why recruiters are increasingly applying this method, look at a range of questions and explore what is different about them and how the curriculum might support this change

Keynote Speaker Biography
Doug Cole, Head of Global Employability and Enterprise

Doug is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport & Physical Activity with over twelve years industry experience and ten years in Higher Education. Previously Doug spent seven years working in Asia, including China, Hong Kong and Thailand, returning to England in 2007.

Doug joined the Higher Education Academy as their Head of Academic Practice in June 2015 and is now Head of Global Employability and Enterprise. Prior to this Doug was Head of Employability and Enterprise at Northumbria University.

In 2012 Doug developed the concept of a framework for employability to support institutions in developing a more consistent, comprehensive and cohesive approach to employability and is conducting PhD research in this same field. In 2013 Doug went on to develop this work further and co-authored the Higher Education Academy publication Defining & developing your approach to employability: A framework for higher education institutions with Maureen Tibby and both then led on the refresh of this framework in 2015.

Externally Doug sits on the University of Leeds board for their Institute for Teaching Excellence and Innovation; he is also the Higher Education Technical Advisor on the Professional Development Board for the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity and is a member of the Advisory Council for the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

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Eldon Building

Winston Churchill Avenue



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