Dr Emma Coffield
School of Arts and Cultures
Humanities and Social Sciences
What did you do?
Beyond Employability was a year-long research project in the School of Arts and Cultures that aimed to understand employability via the student experience, and use key findings to improve teaching.
Who is involved?
Dr Emma Coffield, Dr Katie Markham, Jess Crosby, Maria Athanasiou and Cecilia Stenbom, with contributions from Iain Wheeldon, Jane Nolan and David Butler.
How did you do it?
A detailed methodology is provided in the Beyond Employability workbook and the team are happy to come and talk to anyone thinking about running a similar project.
Why did you do it?
The project stems from our collective experience as precariously employed teaching staff, and what we saw as a notable increase in students expressing anxiety over their lives post-graduation. We also knew from literature reviews that a great deal of academic literature around employability focuses on employer expectations or ‘skills’, whereas we wanted to better understand how the increasing neoliberalisation of HE and ‘creative’ sectors informed students lives and expectations, and to challenge the narrative of employability as an individualised property.
Does it work?
The project resulted in a public event for teaching staff and a workbook, which we launched at the SACS School Meeting in September 2019. Since then we’ve been inundated with requests for copies, and we are hoping to hear more as colleagues try out some of the activities and recommendations throughout the year.