Research aims to enhance the employability of Birmingham City University students


Employability is more than about getting a job. It is about having the mix of knowledge, skills, attributes and aptitude which sustain a successful career. With changes to Higher Education, and the current economic climate, the university is more acutely aware of the investment students are making in their future. Employability is at the core of BCU’s mission, whether to assist students onto their career path, or to help them progress in their existing role.

Clare Jones, a senior lecturer in Human Resource Management, is undertaking a research project in employability, focussing initially on the experiences of Business School undergraduate students during their placement year. The research project is supported by the Business School’s Centre for Business, Innovation and Enterprise (CBIE) and consists of two key phases. First, Clare is looking at the methods and criteria used by organisations to recruit students, and how the university prepares students for work. Secondly, she is exploring whether students’ belief in their own abilities and skills change during the work placement.

Looking at the initial findings from the research Clare commented: “I have been able to gather very useful information about how different employers recruit and I have identified some common concerns shared by our students as they start their job. I can use this information to develop the way we prepare all our students for work.”

The final report will be available in Autumn 2011, though Clare intends to continue to explore this theme with future students, and with employers. This project complements Clare’s doctoral research in employability among post-graduate students as she notes: “Employability is relevant to all our students, and my research will increase our understanding of employers’ expectations of students, enabling us to develop the way we prepare students for their chosen career”. Employability and employer engagement has a high profile across Higher Education and Clare’s research has attracted the attention of a leading academic journal interested in publishing the findings.

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