What is EmployABILITY?

EmployABILITY is the ability to create and sustain meaningful work across the career lifespan. It is a continual developmental process that students need to learn before they graduate.

What is the Developing EmployABILITY initiative?

The Developing EmployABILITY Initiative is a collaboration involving over 20 higher education institutions and over 400 scholars internationally. The Initiative is led by Professor Dawn Bennett at Curtin University in Western Australia. New collaborators are always welcome.

What is employABILITY thinking?

EmployABILITY thinking engages students as partners in their development. As a cognitive approach, employability thinking aligns employability with both the purpose of higher education and the future of work.

Employability thinking:

  • Engages students in their cognitive and social development as capable and informed individuals, professionals and social citizens; and
  • Prompts students to understand why they think the way they think, how to critique and learn the unfamiliar, and how their values, beliefs and assumptions can inform and be informed by their learning, lives and careers.

Employability thinking isn’t something that is ‘done’ to students; it needs to be explicit, and it needs to create cognitive links. This is where the thinking comes in.

Every student should engage in employability thinking. This can be achieved through careful scaffolding of work-integrated-learning (WIL), through reflective and assessment tasks that include a future-oriented dimension, and through pedagogical approaches that develop students’ metacognition.

How do I develop employABILITY with my students?

Learn about employABILITY thinking and how to get started here.

I have great resources. Can I contribute?

Yes! Please share your ideas at any time. Each resource is trialled and refined for effectiveness and pedagogical rigour. The resources range from 10-minute tools through to semester-long careers research tasks, and some tools are combined to create resource sets which tackle a distinct topic.

What are the Literacies for Life?

The six Literacies for Life combine to enhance employability and inform personal and professional development. The literacies, shown below together with their broad categories, are comprised some 135 items with multiple overlapping elements; they should not be read as isolated constructs.

Basic literacy

Developing disciplinary skills, practices and knowledge
Communicating and interacting with other people
Using digital technologies for work and learning

Rhetorical literacy

Solving problems
Making informed decisions
Managing goals, tasks and deadlines

Personal and critical literacy

Being responsible for personal development and learning
Putting the theory into practice
Believing in myself and my abilities

Emotional literacy

Managing emotions
Being aware of other people’s feelings
Helping other people

Occupational literacy

Making informed career decisions
Aligning career options with personal values and interests
Creating an alternative career plan

Ethical, cultural and social literacy

Behaving ethically and responsibly
Being a global citizen
Being culturally aware

Why is this free?

The intent of the Developing EmployABILITY initiative is to offer a developmental resource that is accessible to all students. As such, it has to be online, free and formative. EmployABILITY teaching resources have been developed by multiple scholars over more than a decade. All contributors agree to share their resources under a Creative Commons license. The Developing Employability Initiative has also received funding from the Australian Government.

Am I allowed to use the resources?

The resources and online tool are available to all higher education educators and students. There is no charge for their use.

How do I access student data?

Students can elect to include their responses to the online tool in a dataset for educational research. We have strict ethical protocols around the security of this data. Please contact us if you would like to access anonymised student data for teaching purposes or to collaborate with us in some educational research. Please also refer to our ethical considerations.

Where is digital literacy?

We define digital literacy as “the ability to identify and use technology confidently, creatively and critically to meet the demands and challenges of life, learning and work in a digital society” (Coldwell-Neilson, 2018).

Being digitally literate implies having skills and capabilities across a number of domains, including the ability to

  • use technology;
  • find, use and critically evaluate information;
  • curate data and media sources;
  • communicate, collaborate and participate in online environments;
  • manage your online identity as well as your personal security and privacy; and
  • create online content, not just consume it.

Digital literacy is woven through the Literacies for Life resources. Click here for more information.

Can students opt out of including their responses in the research database?

Yes. At the end of the profile tool, students are given an information sheet and consent form. They can opt out of including their responses. Opting out does not impact students’ access to any of the tools and resources.

Are students identifiable?

No. Students use their student number as their unique identifier so that they can retrieve and revisit previous profiles at any time. To ensure students’ anonymity, student numbers are removed from the database prior to analysis.

If you have any further queries please get in contact at contact@developingemployABILITY.edu.au

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