The career management component of employability includes self-awareness; decision making; ability to exploit opportunities; self-marketing on paper and in person, usually offered as either a standalone talk or a series of talks, topics include CVs, generating opportunities and commercial awareness and are delivered by employers or careers staff.
Careers education includes the interdisciplinary field of Career Studies which focuses on researching and understanding the different ways in which people experience career and working life. It also includes topics such as labour market information, employment practices and career choice. For a good introduction see McCash (2008). Typically, careers education is ‘embedded' as a discrete credit-bearing unit within the taught curriculum that may or may not be compulsory for students to attend. Programmes can be confined to a single year or structured over three years and are normally delivered by academics, careers staff and employers.
As with core skills developing career management abilities takes time. It cannot be concentrated into a few spare days between the end of exams and graduation. It follows that the more opportunities students have to grasp, practise and apply these concepts the more able they will be to capitalise on their graduate status when they leave.
Schools can assist significantly this process by:
- encouraging students to attend ‘stand-alone' careers workshops, talks and events (although it is acknowledged that without incentives many students do not see the value of such events)
- ensuring that at least one ‘employability' or ‘careers' slot is timetabled into each semester, with topics including CV's, subject related employment options and market awareness
- integrating careers education or career management studies more fully into the curriculum either as a distinct module or a significant component of existing modules. A number of HEIs have implemented such modules.
McCash, P. (2008). Career Studies Handbook: Career Development Learning in Practice (PDF).