Enhancing graduate attributes and employability through initiatives with external partners

Simon O'Leary

Abstract


This research explores how projects with external partners can help enhance the employability-related attributes of higher education students, and is based on a combination of prior literature and an institutional initiative using projects as an alternative to the well-respected dissertation. Initiatives between higher education institutions and external organisations exist in many forms and the students in this research are shown to improve their understanding of the needs of external organisations, while enhancing their self-confidence and team-working abilities. The degree programme studied is in its sixth year and good balances of students have chosen between the project and dissertation options, slightly more the former. In addition to supporting the development of the students’ employability-related attributes, outward-facing activities such as these are also potentially of help to the higher education institution itself as the student experience is enriched and this ultimately supports any efforts being made to rise up many of the university ranking schemes.


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