Career education, information, advice and guidance in Higher Education

A new report from the  QAA,  A “code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education.  Section 8: Career education, information, advice and guidance” – has been released this month. Designed to update previous practice from 9 years ago it does cover some interesting areas and emphasises the key aspects of good CEIAG to students in Higher Education. Increasingly the issue of unemployed, and underemployered graduates, is going to gather more momentum, especially after this years crop of graduates comes out of the university sector seeking fulfilling careers whilst news of cost reductions in all sorts of areas, echo around them. The main area bearing the costs now will be the public sector, which is facing large and ongoing reductions in funding. Some companies have cancelled or reduced their graduate intake and this is unlikely to get any better for the next year of so at least. The reports dual role of ensuring that students beginning courses obtain the CEIAG they were expecting is combined with a secondary target, to ensure that the HEI can produce graduates to meet the labour market both for today and tomorrow. It does mentioned fluctuations in this labour market and it will be interesting to see what this document causes to be added to the work HEIs are already doing in this field. such projects as Birmingham University’s Future Proof Graduate program http://www2.bcu.ac.uk/futureproof is food for thought. Can we rely on all universities being able to offer similar work, indeed how far should they go along an employability route, does the type of university matter in this respect ? Russell Group or Million+ , Oxford University or Oxford Brookes ?  Of course those students studying HE courses at the local college are another factor again, what support is given in terms of IAG to this increasing number of students ? As is often the case, more questions that answers currently. If you want to read the report you can find it at this link  http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/codeOfPractice/section8/Section8careereducation2010.pdf

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One Response to Career education, information, advice and guidance in Higher Education

  1. Alyson Twyman says:

    The CEIAG Code of Practice is, as you say, designed to promote good practice in the sector. For those who are not familiar with the role of the QAA, the Code of Practice is in essence a quality standard that covers everything in HE from admissions to assessment and forms the basis of regular institutional assessments by the QAA. The Code is not overly prescriptive – the precepts are requirements but the accompanying text is guidance on what the precept means, along with examples of what good practice might look like.

    This section of the Code, like all others, recognises that all HEIs are different and will approach employability in very different ways – for some it will be a much higher strategic priority than for others. This is a good thing, just as long as they all meet baseline requirements.

    The key thrust of the new CEIAG code is a need for institutions to move away from seeing CEIAG as the responsibility of the careers service and to really think about where careers and employability fit within their strategies and practice – identifying who does what, where and why. All roles (including admissions staff, personal tutors, SU officers) who might give careers advice (in its broadest sense) are encompassed in this code. This means that any limitations to their knowledge base and their impartiality must be completely transparent; also they should have training relevant to their roles – emphasising the consultancy and training role of careers service staff in the institution.

    There’s a real emphasis on collaboration too – internally to ensure that academic, careers and SU staff work together – and externally, engaging employers and their professional bodies in work experience, contributions to the curriculum etc.

    None of this is really new – the Code is catching up with the rapid expansion of excellent practice in a growing number of universities and attempting to support that practice while chasing up the ‘stragglers’.

    I had the good fortune to be a member of the working group that updated the code this time so I’m hoping it will have the right impact. If not, it won’t be for lack of effort!

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