HEA expert contributes to new book on graduate employability in Australia

Thursday, 12 October, 2017

Doug Cole, Head of Student Success at the Higher Education Academy (HEA), is contributing a chapter on the “Language of Employability” to a new book written by leading academics in Australia about how well universities are preparing students for global employment in the 21st century. The book is being co-edited by HEA Principal Fellow Professor Joy Higgs from Charles Sturt University.

Doug is co-authoring his chapter with Dr Raphael Hallett, Director, Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, at the University of Leeds. Together they will discuss the language of employability versus the language of learning, and look at how higher education institutions can provide opportunities for students to understand better how learning and employability fit together.

Doug will draw on the HEA’s experience of working with a wide range of institutions globally in employability and showcase the HEA framework for employability. The framework acts as a flexible tool to support both curriculum design and planning extra-curricular provision and is centred on establishing a mutually understood language of employability, shared by academics, employers and students from the outset.  

“It’s a great chance to collaborate and to be able to share practice between the UK and Australia,” Doug said. “Employability is a vital aspect of education at institutions around the world, and high on the agenda with a range of stakeholders – not least of course with students themselves. We believe that language plays a crucial part in shaping institutional approaches employability. This book will look at best practice and innovations in employability, which are relevant for students, academics and senior leaders in HE.”

 Co-author Dr Raphael Hallett, Director, Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, said: "The rhetoric of employability is contentious and in urgent need of a refresh. It's time to connect it to the language of academic development and civic engagement: in other words, to make it more engaging for our students."

Co-editor Joy Higgs, Professor in Higher Education, Charles Sturt University, said: "With a number of leading researchers, scholars and educators internationally, the book, to be released next year, addresses such questions as the following: How does university education prepare students for employment? How well are graduates prepared for negotiating the tribulations of current recruitment strategies? What should universities do, and say they do, in relation to employability vs employment? How well are we actually preparing graduates for the changing demands of employability across their working lives?   For many students their goal is to make their own jobs; what are the implications of this for education? We look forward to providing further information when the book is due for release."

Education for Employability: Learning for Future Possibilities, is co-edited by Higgs J, Crisp G, Letts W and will be published by Sense-Brill in 2018.