Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Embedding a culture of career learning in the GeoSciences

Embedding a culture of career learning in the GeoSciences.

School / Unit: Careers Service

Team Members: Sarah Innes, Saran Sohi

Abstract

Geoscience graduates can target a wide range of technical and non-technical career pathways. Diverse choice and increasing emphasis on building career-related experience and skills can contribute to a confusing and challenging employment landscape for many students.

The most recent Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) outcomes suggest that undergraduate students in the School of GeoSciences are underperforming on measures of graduate level employment when compared to students from comparable Schools in the University, and when compared to some other Russell Group Geoscience cohorts (DLHE 2015/6). Usage statistics from the Careers Service suggest that a minority of students in the School engage with centrally provided careers activities. Students that engage with career learning and develop career management skills are better equipped to make informed decisions (Neary, Dodd and Hooley 2015). They demonstrate self-awareness required for identifying suitable career paths, and can communicate their achievements effectively to employers. Acquisition of career management skills is a decisive factor in enabling graduates to thrive in a competitive graduate job market.

We seek to establish, document and communicate activities and learning that graduates report as having a positive impact on their transition to employment. We will use a range of methodologies, including a graduate questionnaire and graduate and employer interviews, to explore individual pathways into graduate employment. We will not capture activities that students did not take up, but will begin with direct positive experiences. We seek to embed career learning within the culture of GeoSciences study and will share stories of success as a powerful approach in helping students to engage.