Articulating excellence in the context of design and employability

DS 76: Proceedings of E&PDE 2013, the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, Dublin, Ireland, 05-06.09.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Trowsdale, Dan; Clark, Becky
Series: E&PDE
Institution: University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Section: Design Education and Business
Page(s): 530-535
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


In today's highly competitive graduate marketplace, employability is at the top of the agenda for many academic institutions. At a time when the costs associated with higher education are increasing, the value of attending higher education is being scrutinized more than ever. During open days parents of applicants regularly ask questions indicating how much they value the employability aspects of a programme. According to the CBI, “employers are looking beyond simple academic achievement when considering applicants for a job or internship. Employability covers a broad range of nonacademic or softer skills and abilities, which are of value in the workplace. It includes the ability to work in a team; a willingness to demonstrate initiative and original thought; self-discipline in starting and completing tasks to deadline.” Attributes such as original thought, problem solving, innovation, creativity, and teamwork are complex skills which employers’ value but are difficult to evidence and articulate. This paper reports a case study of a level three design based assignment, which provides an opportunity for students to reflect upon the qualities they have personally gained through their time at university and to practice communicating and evidencing those skills. The paper covers how the assignment is delivered including engagement with employers and methods of assessment.

Keywords: Employability, employers, communication, careers, skills.


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