A cross-disciplinary comparison of the approach to developing work ready plus graduates
About the project
As we are enter the fourth industrial revolution, or the age of cyber-physical systems, a new type of graduate is required. He/she will require talents that have not been previously delivered. To serve society's transition into this rubric, there are growing demands for graduates who can navigate the uncertainty and complexity of rapidly transforming employment within a context of disruptive change.
There have been numerous articles focusing on the importance of future employability. It is now time to examine the practicality of these ideas and explore effective ways to make the ‘good ideas’ happen. The project will explore the ways to implement the concept of making graduates from New Zealand tertiary education organisations (TEO) employable. The findings and outputs from this project are expected to not only formalise the employability practices of the five participating programs, but also contribute to the institution-wide strategic agenda in learning, quality and student experience. In addition, the scope of the project will enable the findings of the project to be relevant and transferable to other TEOs in New Zealand.
Built on recent international studies on graduate employability, this project aims to explore the ways to put in practice the ‘Work Ready Plus’ concept developed by Emeritus Professor Geoff Scott. To achieve this, the project will:
- Examine the suitability of the Professional and Graduate Capability Framework (Scott, 2016) for each of the five sampled programmes incorporating and reconciling the perspectives of all key stakeholders (ie, students, graduates, employers, TEO managers)
- Develop an evidence-based, sustainable, and transferable model of future employability enhancement for each of the five sampled programmes
- Generate a comprehensive and research informed guideline on future employability enhancement in TEOs that exemplifies and justifies how key commonalities and discrepancies between programmes and disciplines can be addressed.
Design / Methodology
Using the 'Work Ready Plus' framework, the project will adopt multiple level and multiple programme action research that follows the cyclical stages of ‘planning, acting, observing, and reflecting’.
The five programmes are: the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3); the Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching (Level 5-6); the Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Level 5-7); the Graduate Diploma in Health studies (Level 7); and the Master in Management (Level 9).
Through interviews and observation, the research project will generate evidence-based best practices of employability enhancement for each of the five programmes. Its focus will be on comparison between programmes, disciplines and sites in terms of similarities and differences in the implementation, and evaluation of these approaches to the concept of ‘Work Ready Plus for Tomorrow’.
It is anticipated that through this research the team will be able to identify:
- Modified and validated scales of professional capability
- Survey data from large numbers of tertiary students from two cohorts of five programmes
- Interview data from stakeholder groups (students, staff, graduates, employers, managers)
- Five fully developed ‘Work Ready Plus’ enhancement models that are tailored to the New Zealand tertiary education context comprised of:
(a) new graduate outcomes added to the existing graduate profile
(b) new learning outcomes added to one or more existing courses
(c) new topic and the related teaching/supporting strategies added to one or more existing courses
(d) a full resource kit housing all the necessary resources and instructions for the creation of the work ready plus learning environment.
- One fully developed cross-disciplinary ‘Work Ready Plus’ handbook detailing all the theoretical principles and practical strategies for programmes in different disciplines, and the differences and commonalities between disciplines.
All these resources will be made available for other New Zealand TEOs.
Prior to the programme being rolled out in 2017, members of the five participating programme teams have been briefed on the Work Ready Plus model and their first thoughts for its implementation have been recorded.
- Dr Qilong Zhang (Project Co-Leader and Principal Investigator)
- Dr David Gough (Project Co-Leader)
- Jon Sadler (Project Manager)
- Tina Mischewski (Careers Guidance)
- Joanne Hayes (Programme Investigator)
- Dr Aliyu Abdullahtef (Programme Investigator)
- John Kelly (Programme Investigator)
- Debra Laraman (Programme Investigator)
- Megan Ruha (Programme Investigator)
- Dr Tepora Emery (Kaupapa Māori Advisor and Iwi Liaison)
- Ruth Barnes (Action Research Coordinator)
- Karoline Setu-Galo (Pasifika Liaison)
Ako Aotearoa $58,138 (excl. GST)
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology $58,138 (excl. GST)
Project commenced: Start 2017
Expected project completion: Mid 2019
|The report from this project is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.|
 Fullan, M., and Scott, G., (2014). New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Whitepaper: Education PLUS. Collaborative Impact: Seattle, Washington.