Careers service: A Pack of English-specific Personal Development Planning Materials

Employability & Enterprise

Project Description

This project will produce a pack of English-specific Personal Development Planning materials for use in / alongside curriculum activity, in order to promote a clearer awareness of the relevance and application of English skills to work-place contexts. (This will supplement generic PDP materials available on-line.) Funding will enable this material to be presented in a robust, eye-catching and student-friendly format, which will help promote the benefits and relevance of PDP processes to employability and life-long personal and professional development.

The project will build on existing induction PDP activity, skills development workshops, and assessed reflective practice in year1 English literature modules, and provide further stimulus for such practice in years 2 and 3. It will provide opportunities through graduate case studies and reflection on work-related learning (including part-time, voluntary and vacation work) for students to explore how academic skills can transfer to a wide range of career areas and job roles. Materials will be available in paper and electronic formats, the latter contributing to an English careers resource linked to the institution’s VLE for signposting to students by staff.

This is one a series of projects. You can read about them all on the main project page.

Project report

Benefits to English students

This project will specifically use the principles of PDP to encourage reflective practice and articulation of employability skills in order to broaden understanding of progression options for the English graduate. It will make use of the Student Employability Profile to help identify and enhance such skills. (This will build on some of the findings of previous Subject Centre projects eg English in the Workplace: De Montfort). Students will be introduced at an early stage to the relevance of their studies, and other learning experiences, to workplace roles. The materials will also reinforce a sense of confidence in the value of their degree, encouraging earlier research and planning for next steps after graduation.

Awareness and articulation of the benefits of degree studies is particularly important for an increasingly diverse student profile, to ensure an aspirational yet realistic sense of where degree studies in English might lead, and to increase chances of accessing such opportunities. As well as case studies of alumni, and other graduates, the material would include a range of occupational research resources for both typical and less common employment sectors, together with exercises to prompt increased self awareness, earlier career exploration, and tools to aid decision-making.

Other Information

Comprehensive research and development of discipline-based materials of this kind has recently been completed by the named contact in other subject areas within this institution, and these have received positive initial feedback from staff, who will start pilots this autumn. Initially they will take the form of an electronic resource for staff, to support customisation and integration of PDP within the curriculum, and will encourage electronic signposting to careers resources for students.

We are also currently involved in a Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences (GEES) funded project to produce a comprehensive staff and student resource pack linked to a module for Geography students as ‘Learning Facilitators’, which will align with and inform this development. 
Other than this, however, there are no current plans or resources to make the student material in other subjects available in a separate pack, so external funding of this kind would provide a valuable impetus to this development, and open up possible opportunities to explore similar projects in cooperation with other subject centres. The material which would be produced through this project would provide a template which will be transferable to other discipline areas.

Contact Details

Andrea Duncan, PDP Co-ordinator (seconded from the Careers Service)
The University of Northampton