Increasing employability in Science graduates through longitudinal course design
Keywords:Employability, course design, graduate qualities
Employability for our graduates, especially in science disciplines, is typically lower that of other, more vocational areas such as computing or engineering. One of the reasons is a lack of opportunities for work experience during the program of study, but also a lack of employability skills and preparedness for work. In Science degrees, these aspects are often neglected in curriculum design in favour for more discipline-specific content.
We have recently designed a degree-spanning curriculum, that embeds employability skills into every year of all our three-year undergraduate Bachelors degrees in Science. Students are encouraged to think and prepare for future employment from day one onwards and build throughout their degree a competitive employability portfolio.
In year 1, students start to think about employability skills, start building a resume and are exposed to some professional skills. In year 2, these skills are further refined, with a focus on communication and professionalism. Finally, in year 3, the skills are applied in either a simulated work environment or a placement in industry.
Initial analysis of the design had shown a significant increase in preparedness for work in third-year students.