10 February 2023
Introducing The Careers Group’s QAA-funded Collaborative Enhancement Project
Director of The Careers Group, University of London
Members of The Careers Group alongside the University of London’s Centre for Online and Distance Education were delighted to be awarded one of 16 QAA funded Collaborative Enhancement Projects launching in January 2023.
The scope of our project is the exploration of inclusive curriculum to make employability development intrinsic to good teaching and learning. Very often, employability skills are not designed in or delivered as part of the disciplinary curriculum, positioned instead as optional modules and/or extra-curricular activities. However, as students become more strategic in their engagement and the purpose of higher education is more readily drawn into question, it is essential that curricula be designed to meet the needs of all students and provide them with the skills and attributes needed to survive and thrive within a complex world.
Through the course of this project, we’ll be producing a range of practical resources to enable colleagues across the sector as educators and careers professionals to impactfully support diverse student populations.
The toolkit will be focused on pedagogies, assessments, and content for employability to help educators design and deliver their curricula in a way which enables all students to develop the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to effectively transition into their lives and careers after higher education, as well as gaining a good degree.
The project team/our differences make us stronger
The Careers Group, as the federation of careers services of Member Institutions of the University of London*, presents a natural collaborative environment. We have a long history of co-creating resources and professional practice in careers education and employability development and are fortunate to have communities of colleagues from across our member services who meet with the specific purpose of comparing practice and learning for common mutual benefit. Likewise, the University of London’s Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE) is a community of experts and thought leaders with expertise from across the University’s federal community and beyond, whose focus includes innovation in learning and teaching.
What The Careers Group and CODE have in common is that the Institutions we represent are vastly different in every way - from size to disciplinary areas covered, from student demographics to the way each institution reflects its location in London and beyond, from strategic objectives to the work and study destinations of its graduates. This richness of difference might sometimes make collaboration more complex, but it always makes the outputs stronger.
A bigger picture/stepping beyond diversity
One of the key aspirations in bidding for this project was to consolidate and further develop our expertise around one key area we all have in common, despite our differences as institutions and communities: the need for inclusive curriculums that support all students to make an effective transition into their lives after university. It is a misconception that inclusive approaches to curriculum are only needed in institutions which have more diverse populations, particularly of under-represented or marginalised groups. Some institutions may have more students who experience more visible barriers to that transition to work or further study, but a more inclusive curriculum does not target particular groups of students: it changes the way we deliver curriculum to ensure all students benefit.
Our project partners are a microcosm of our organisational diversity, and we think this will help us rigorously test and evaluate the toolkit both in development and in implementation. City is the “university of business, practice and the professions”, with a significant proportion of commuter students from London. Goldsmiths’ profile as a “creative powerhouse” educates students towards very different sectors and careers in culture and creative practice, while King’s College London is committed to creating positive and sustainable change, including through health, humanities and the public sector. An inclusive curriculum that makes employability development intrinsic to good teaching and learning should work in all types of disciplinary and institutional contexts, and we think these institutions offer a valuable combination of environments to test that objective.
One of the key attractions of the QAA Collaborative Enhancement Projects was the opportunity to create something that everyone can benefit from, so we hope that sharing our learning throughout the project lifecycle will be useful. In the coming weeks, our project partners will share their perspectives on inclusive curriculums and employability development, as well as some of our research and practice findings. We look forward to seeing how these perspectives will enrich our work and hope they enrich yours too.
You can read more about this project, and access resources once completed, on its web page: Evolving the current inclusive curriculum discussion to make employability development intrinsic to good quality teaching & learning.
*The members of The Careers Group are City, Goldsmiths, King’s College London, SOAS, University College London, and the University of London Careers Service (which supports students on the University of London’s Worldwide programmes and School of Advanced Study, as well as at The Courtauld, St George’s, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Institute of Cancer Research, Royal Veterinary College, and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama). Saint Mary’s University is also a member of The Careers Group but is not a member of the University of London federation.