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Background to the Event

Posted by Àngels Trias i Valls on May 14, 2009

Employer Engagement and Employability after the Crash: Opportunities and challenges for social science learning, teaching and employment

There have been growing efforts, across institutions, funding councils and students, amongst others, to enhance both ‘employer engagement’ with HE and student development of discipline-specific skills of ‘employability’. Whilst academics in various disciplines have produced discipline-specific ‘benchmarking statements’ that consider the significance of these two processes, the anticipated economic ‘downturn’—or worse—suggests that there is a need to reconsider what employer engagement and employability might mean in circumstances when employers may become reluctant to be ‘engaged’ and when students can be as ‘employable’ as possible and still not find employment. There is also a need to consider the analytical tools that the social sciences might offer for a critical exploration of the current situation that could contribute to a larger project of transformation. The proposed day workshop offers students, lecturers and employers the opportunity to:

  • More fully understand the current economic situation;
  • Critique the concepts of ‘employer engagement’ and ‘employability’ given this situation;
  • Explore how pedagogical strategies and discipline-specific insights can help students and staff effectively engage with and seek to understand the challenges of the shifting sands of work and the workplace more generally;
  • Consider new, and reconsider existing, opportunities for employment, especially in voluntary and public sector organisations that social science graduates often enter;
  • Examine the role of universities in preparing students for a global workplace given  the current crisis;
  • Reflect upon the tensions between the historical role of universities as sites where learning for its own sake took place/takes place and the growing role of universities as sites for knowledge transfer through engaging with employers’ agendas. 

 

Confirmed speakers:

Patrick Ainley, University of Greenwich ‘Fick Higher Education, Employability after the credit crunch’

Matt Badcock, Birmingham City University, ‘Sociology and the public(s): Using public sociology to rework student engagement beyond the university’

Annika Coughlin, University of Bedfordshire, ‘Examining employability: modes of explaining “success” or “failure” in the transition from university to work’

Max Farrar, Leeds Metropolitan University, ‘How to earn a living without selling your soul’

Aaron Porter, Vice President, NUS ‘Down but not out: A student view of the implications of the credit crunch on the HE students of today’

David Woodman, Roehampton University, ‘Placement learning: The incitement of personal disclosure’

Friday 20 March 09, Birmingham

 

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