‘My Graduate Plan’: Supporting students to develop opportunity awareness, agency and career readiness

"In the context of students in the School of Education and Professional Development (excluding those training to teach and to be Youth and Community workers) research and market intelligence shows us that employers are agnostic when it comes to degree subject specialism – they are more interested in skills and attitude. Why is this important? Our students probably believe they are unable to apply for graduate jobs outside of their subject area, so it is essential that they understand this employer attitude.
Research shows that the notion of a ‘career readiness’ mindset and skill set is particularly important when it comes to progression to highly skilled employment and this suggests that we should focus on developing such a mindset from Year 1 through to Year 3.

Research also shows that approximately 60% in Year 1 and 48% Year 3 are undecided in terms of career choices. It is essential that our students understand that this is normal and that there are expert services, effective support networks and targeted activities that they can engage with to work through this uncertainty.
It is clear from an analysis of the research that we need, therefore, to develop the following in our current students:

  • A mindset that focuses on ‘careers for’ not ‘careers in’
  • The notion of ‘opportunity awareness’
  • a sense of agency, social and cultural capital;
  • an understanding of the skills and knowledge that they have developed over 3 years;
  • an image of their future selves working in a professional or managerial context.

In this interactive workshop we will be sharing a whole School project, titled ‘My Graduate Plan’, that seeks to address the issues set out above. Building on ‘Women of the Future’ and GPA this four-year project comprises four work strands:

  • our students
  • the curriculum
  • beyond the curriculum
  • staff development

Join us to build a collective response to the development of agency, social and cultural capital and the confident enactment of graduate attributes in our students.


Hazel Bryan