There is a common myth in higher education that postgraduate’s don’t need employment support; that they can take care of their own employment needs. This is not the case, with many postgraduate students choosing to return to study to change career or disciplines there is the need to support these students with employability.
What does research say about postgraduate employability needs?
The OLT project into the Postgraduate Student Experience (2016) found that postgraduate students
Do have substantive employability needs
Need approaches and supports that are different from those designed for undergraduates
Universities aren’t adequately addressing their employability needs
The following recommendations emerged from the research, it is recommended that
"Employability is embedded in the everyday postgraduate curriculum and assessment
Employability is made explicit to postgraduate students
Postgraduate studies actively engage with industry to facilitate practical experiences"
- (Postgraduate Student Experience 2016)
Suggestions for practice
Make the employability skills that are developed in your unit explicit to students
Talk to students about employment opportunities in your area
Bring in guest speakers to lectures, workshops, panel events: these could include previous students who have moved into particular industries, industry experts sharing their expertise.
Design assessments that are project-based that allow students to apply to real contexts, ideally link with real employers
Include practical experiences with industry
Include employers in your course development and redevelopment
Find out why Work Integrated Learning is an important part of the curriculum at ACU.
ACU | What is Work Integrated Learning (2017)
QUT’s Career Mentor Scheme
QUT’s Career Mentor Scheme - The Career Mentor Scheme matches students with an industry professional, providing them with the opportunity to gain valuable information and advice. In this video international mentors and student mentees talk about their experience with the program.