Welcome to the Jisc “Technology for Employability” project

Having worked for many years on projects involving HE, FE and employers in partnership working, I was delighted to become part of a team to investigate the role of technology in developing student employability skills. The team includes Lisa Gray from Jisc and Geoff Rebbeck, who will both introduce themselves in separate posts.

Over the next few months you may well find us contacting you as we research what is going on in both the HE and FE sectors. We are looking for good practices, ideas, challenges and opportunities in this area. We are also aiming to develop a series of case studies and looking to identify how Jisc can best support each sector. Meanwhile, if you think you can help us, please do get in contact either by commenting on this post or e-mailing me – peter.chatterton@daedalus-e-world.com.

Geoff, Lisa and myself will use this blog to give updates on how we are progressing with the project and we’ll share our thoughts and ideas as we go along – hopefully, this may prompt some feedback.

You can join us at the Jisc Digital Festival on 9 March 2015, where we will be running a workshop to present our interim findings, showcase examples and provide opportunities for you to engage with us in this exciting area of technology for employability.

Peter Chatterton

4 thoughts on “Welcome to the Jisc “Technology for Employability” project

  1. Geoff Rebbeck

    I am going to be working with Peter on this but looking in particular at the FE and Skills sector. It has exactly the same goals as HE but, apart from what employers specifically want, the Sector is centrally regulated by Government policy, guidance and review when it comes to employability skills.

    What employers want from employees is more than technical competence evidenced in a qualification. What these employability skills are is complicated by four challenges:

    1. The sheer range of training, the levels of entry supported and employment opportunities supported by FE means that no one pattern has been agreed to follow

    2. Because of the range there are as many skills needed as there are opinions consulted.

    3. It isn’t clear if there should be a generic set that demonstrate adaptability or can be applied to all employment or specific lists for each vocation or a combination of the two.
    Many of these skills are ‘soft’, (presentability, socially skilled, able to react positively to criticism sociability etc.) and have been difficult to carry into a qualification.

    4. Because the nature of work is constantly changing the skills list is changing and the emerging skills are in demand. This includes digital literacy and the development of a positive digital reputation.

    This is such an interesting field of study because of the range of level of ability and diversity of subjects to consider; from Accountancy to Blacksmithing, to Cake Decorating,and that is just the first three letters of the alphabet.

    What technology has to offer fits into two broad areas:
    1. The ability to discover, capture, store skills and
    2. The ability to marshal, reformat and present them to an audience, whether that is a prospective employer anywhere in the world, or clients in the case of self-employment.

  2. Geoff Rebbeck

    I am starting to ge an idea of how FE is meeting the employability challenge. Firstly it is clear that everyone has got the message that FE funding will be less next year and no-one will survive unless they are able to attract customers from local employers and that will mean meeting their training requirements in terms of what they want and not by giving them a choice. This looks like it is being tackled in two ways.

    Providers are using a senior manager to look for large local business to sign a formal agreement, typically between 5 and 10 of thee. Small businesses are still being engaged through vocation specific teachers and by placements.
    Apprentices are going to be a huge part of this arrangement and this is yet another strand of connection to local businesses, managed by a specific Apprenticeship co-ordinator.
    I am still looking to find out how students with physical or learning disability are supported into employment.

    As to what these ’employability skills’ are….
    Clearly there isn’t one list but it be possible to list them as if they can be classified into four:
    1. Job skills – what the employer needs to take some on in a given role
    2. Personal ability skills – loosely inclusive of a good work ethic, punctual, reliable, presentable, literate and numerate
    3. Organisational Skills – wider digital literate, ability to work in a team, leadership ability
    4. Miscellaneous skills – flexibility, travel-able, transferable knowledge and experience, understand Health and Safety

    This will be tested as the Study progresses.

  3. Mark Power

    Hi Geoff

    Are you going to repost these comments as actual blog posts? I think they would work really well that way; enabling conversation around them, rather than getting buried in this comment thread. Just a suggestion.

    I’m currently working on the Jisc FE Skills Window project, but also supporting 22 projects, working in partnership with Jisc, to create and share OERs specifically for vocational areas. I’ll point them all towards this blog; hopefully get some interest and engagement.


  4. Barbara Nicolls

    I am collaborating with the university’s careers and employment dept. on a pilot project using student selected social media platforms to document and present their employability skills developed via extra curricular activities. We are introducing a badging system building on the work of the SU. This is the first of its kind – giving the students the opportunity and responsibility to make choices about the platform for recording, reflecting, sharing and presenting their achievements. The pilot is at its early stages but we hope to get a report out by September this year with the initial findings. I hope that this could be the first in a series of case studies the final goal of which is to embed eportfolios into a sports curriculum.


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