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Graduate Employability Project

Graduate Employability Project

At the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film we are actively seeking to develop the Year Abroad to help students develop skills and competencies that enhance their employability post-graduation. We have secured funding from a range of sources including the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Commercial Education Trust to develop our work placement programme, research the skills required by graduate employers and ensure that the curriculum is well placed to develop graduates employability. The project has been working with employers to improve our support mechanisms and assessment of our students on their Year Abroad and identify ways in which the School can best assist students in developing skills for employment within the curriculum as a whole.

Review of Employability & ‘Skills Gap’

A survey of graduate employers, and a detailed a review of past research covering employability were undertaken to identify the key skills most in need of improvement among graduates (in particular commercial awareness, problem solving, and self-management). Where companies recruit graduates with language skills, it is most common for them to be valued for client/customer facing roles, and greater focus is placed on skills such as communication and teamworking as a result. The preliminary report covering the findings has been disseminated by UCML & ASET via members on the project steering group.

Review of Best Practice in Work Placements

Detailed research into how work placements can best develop employability, informed by research into best practice, feedback from students, work placement providers and UK graduate employers. Key areas identified were the importance of preparation, effective monitoring, assessment, and reflection on learning. Results presented to ASET Research group to publicise the research among other Higher Education placement programmes.

Year Abroad - Development

Changes to the way Year Abroad work placements are supported by Queen Mary informed by best practice research - changes to arrangements before placement (CV & interview workshops, guidelines for employers, self-assessment exercise) during placement (employer assessment exercise) & after placement (self-assessment, workshops and a work placement assignment).     

Employability within the Curriculum

Review of best practice within Higher Education towards developing employability (covering sandwich degrees & work placements, curriculum development, employability-focussed modules/awards, Personal Development Planning, enterprise and entrepreneurship initiatives, graduate attributes programmes and mentoring schemes) and focus group meetings with graduate employers focusing on potential changes to teaching, assessment, modules and work placements to better prepare graduates for employment. Report will be delivered at the ASET conference in September 2013 to disseminate research into best practice among the Higher Education sector.

The final report/research findings including recommendations for universities and businesses will be published on the website in 2014. For further information, please contact Oliver Jackling at

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