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Employability and curriculum - what do you think?

At The Open University, we define employability as ‘A set of capabilities and achievements that supports students in developing their careers, raising their aspirations and enhancing their contribution to society’. For us, employability is about more that getting a job - we know that our students come to us from a vast range of backgrounds, with varied study motivations, and at different stages of careers. Supporting you to achieve positive personal and career development outcomes is key to the University’s aims and central to our approach to developing student employability, throughout your studies and after you graduate.

From 2019, a number of qualifications have been mapped against the University’s Employability Framework, which outlines ten core skills and attributes that are enablers to successful study outcomes.

A new Personal Development Planning (PDP) online tool – FutureYOU - has been created which offers you a safe space to reflect and articulate your employability development throughout your studies if you are studying for one of the qualifications above. Using FutureYOU will help you to construct your unique employability narrative. Have a look at this short introductory video on FutureYOU now. FutureYOU will continue to be rolled out across qualifications over the coming years.

In late May 2020, a sample of students who had used FutureYOU over the previous year was invited to take part in a short online survey. Nearly 3,500 responses were received, capturing data on FutureYOU use as well as valuable insights into students’ understanding of employability and its development. The findings were encouraging, with students saying they felt that the development of core skills and competencies had been useful in relation to achieving academic goals. Likewise, students reported that the development of personal attributes had contributed to achieving personal, career and academic goals.

Over 75% of students were confident in recognising, reflecting, articulating and discussing their skills and attributes, as described in the Employability Framework. What students have told us about employability and using FutureYOU:

Employability means the ability to articulate and demonstrate the capabilities, skills and talent I can offer to the employer.

Personal Development Planning is about planning a continuous learning path to achieve my goals.

'Employability' is being able to put something back into society and helping to make positive change.

Awareness of skills I have acquired and using them to my advantage…Precision in highlighting those skills.

The next survey of a sample of students who have access to Future YOU is due to take place at the end of May, so please look out for the email invitation to complete the survey.

It’s really important that we hear your voice so that we can make sure our approach to employability is fulfilling your needs.