It is vital that students recognise what they have been learning. There is quite a lot of evidence that they are often not prepared to translate their experience of ‘completing an apprenticeship’ into the language of achievements valued by employers. When employability-enhancing elements are only tacitly present, students’ claims to employability are seriously compromised.
The fundamental skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT are usually assessed by assignment, multiple choice test and oral examination. Research confirmed that these skills are viewed by providers as competency-based and lend themselves to traditional methods of assessment.
Learning, teaching and assessment.
Evidence suggests that successful KYP service delivery pedagogical approaches include experiential learning – an emphasis on exploration, learning by doing and reflection in authentic contexts – ideally mixed with rather than simply replacing existing approaches. Existing assessment methodologies should, where necessary, be challenged and new approaches explored that reward successful practice in developing employability, giving them parity of esteem with technical skills and academic knowledge.
There is strong evidence to indicate that authentic work experience contextualises learning, has a strong influence on graduate employment and should be integrated into course curricula wherever possible. In order to maximise learning for employability and the academic subject it is important that this should be a pedagogically supported experience, which includes reflection and articulation of the learning achieved. Where this is difficult or impractical, it may be possible to embed examples of work-related learning or simulated work experience.
Build an institutional culture that promotes employability.
A principal challenge for ROATP providers with Health and Social Care and Children care services is to create an environment in which learning providers put employability enhancement at the heart of what they do. Teaching competence and delivering underpinning knowledge may require that organisational practices and structures such as timetabling and resourcing are amended to fit different pedagogical approaches. Apprenticeship and Diploma only delivery should make employability explicit through validation processes and through module learning outcomes.