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Employability: Challenge and Change in an Evolving Landscape


Ulster University announces its seventh conference to foster the exchange of best practice in employability.

4 May 2016

Jordanstown campus

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  • About

    Ulster University announces its seventh conference to foster the exchange of best practice in employability.

    This conference will address the question of how Higher Education can respond to challenges and opportunities, in developing and supporting student employability in the present changing and evolving climate.

    Keynote speakers will focus on challenges in relation to developing a connected curricula that enhances students employability.  They will also explore the role of learning gain in UK Higher Education and how it can be used as a measure to predict and improve student outcomes and graduate employability.  Issues in relation to our students outward mobility and what HE needs to do to make our graduate talent more competitive in a global market place will also be examined.

    In addition there will be parallel workshops and a poster market place disseminating employability best practice within the themes of learning gain, outward mobility and technology enhanced curricula.

    The conference will be of interest to policy makers, academics and careers advisers, who are involved in the challenge of embedding, teaching and supporting employability within HEIs.

    This event is FREE to attend.

  • Conference programme

    9:30 - 10:00
    Tea/coffee registration (Foyer 16G)

    10:00 - 10:10
    Professor Geoff McMullan, Associate Dean of Life and Health Sciences, Chair of the Subcommittee of Employability

    10:10 - 10:30
    'Setting the Scene'
    Professor Denise McAlister, PVC Learning, Teaching and Student Experience, Ulster University       

    10:30 - 11:15

    Keynote: Preparing students for lifelong employability in a digital world
    Dr Peter Chatterton, Author of 'Technology for Employability'

    11:15 - 11:25
    Q&A (chaired by Professor Geoff McMullan)

    11:25 - 12:00
    Tea/coffee break (poster marketplace)

    12:00 - 12:20

    Measuring Learning Gain through Student Self-Perception and Career-Readiness
    Joanne Ives, Deputy Director of the Graduate Development Centre, Liverpool John Moores University.

    12:20 - 12:40
    Closing the Gap: Student Mobility = Employability. The Essex Model
    Ivan Hutchins, Head of Global Mobility, University of Essex

    12:40 - 12:50
    Roundup of presentations
    Professor Geoff McMullan

    12:50 – 13:00
    Transfer to workshops

    13:00 - 13:45
    Parallel Workshops (Room 16G25/42/45, 16D05, 16D08, 16C30)

    13:45 - 14:15
    Lunch – (poster marketplace)

  • Speakers

    Dr Peter Chatterton

    Dr Peter Chatterton is a consultant and academic who works with an extensive range of universities and educational agencies, supporting them in programmes of innovation, change and agile working for educational transformation.

    He also works with businesses, large and small, and helps develop university-employer partnerships with a particular focus on developing student employability, work-based learning and enhancing university collaboration with employers.

    He has helped set up the Change Agents' Network to support students as innovation and change leaders in universities as well as mentoring students on Jisc's Summer of Student Innovation programme and was a prime mover in setting up and running the Automotive College (an HE/FE/industry partnership) to support manufacturing improvement programmes in the UK automotive supply chain.

    He has acted as a consultant in the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education's Changing the Learning Landscape programme, a HEFCE-funded initiative to transform strategic approaches to technology across HE/FE and, as a result of this work, authored a Jisc report "How do you change the learning landscape? Challenges in the strategic use of technology to support the student experience".

    He is also a consultant to the QAA Scotland on their Enhancement Themes of flexible curriculaand recognition of prior learning and led the development of a flexible curricula toolkit, based on the University of Ulster's Viewpoints framework.

    Peter is currently leading two Jisc projects in relation to student employability and the HEAR and is co-author of the recent Jisc report "Technology for Employability".

    Joanne Ives

    Jo Ives ‎is Deputy Director of the Graduate Development Centre and is responsible for the implementation of the World of Work Programme and the creation, integration and delivery of the award winning World of Work Skills Certificate into all academic undergraduate programmes, as well as the operational management of the World of Work Careers Centre at Liverpool John Moores University.

    Most recently her work has been on the introduction of an institutional 'Career Readiness' survey annually for all new and returning students. This has been successfully operating for 2 years, and LJMU was asked to join and contribute their experience to the HEFCE Learning Gain Project on Careers Registration.

    Prior to this she was a Principal Lecturer at the University with over 30 years of teaching experience in secondary, further and higher education. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

    She  co-authored  'The Routledge Guide to Careers in Criminal Justice, (2014)  and has written and given papers at many UK and international conferences, including QS Apple in Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan as well as Australia and the British Council Going Global in Dubai 2013.

    She has also been working as a consultant, with Universities and Ministries of Higher Education in developing and delivering support for senior managers assisting the HE development and implementation of Graduate Employability models in Malaysia, Vietnam, Jordan, Egypt and most recently with universities in Morocco and Tunisia.

    Ivan Hutchins

    Ivan HitchinsIvan joined the University of Essex, in May 2012, as the Head of Global Mobility, with responsibility to achieve the University's aim of 20% of undergraduates having an international educational experience before graduating. He has overseen a period of substantial growth in Essex's student exchange participation (from 98 students going abroad in 2012-13 to over 450 student in 2016-17).

    His start in international education began in 1999 in the school sector in Pakistan, and he has since worked in universities in Australia, Scotland and England primarily student mobility and EU funded education projects.

    In 2014, he was awarded the title of Erasmus Minister by the European Association of Erasmus Coordinators in recognition 15 years' experience and service to European mobility programmes. Ivan is a graduate of La Trobe University, Monash University and The University Melbourne (all in Australia), and as a graduate student completed a study abroad semester at the University of Glasgow.

    At last count Ivan has travelled to 116 countries for both work and leisure.

    Professor Denise McAlister CBE

    Professor Denise McAlister assumed responsibilities as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching and Student Experience) at Ulster University in September 2005.

    Previously educated at the Queen's University of Belfast, the University of Salford and the University of Tromso, Norway, Professor McAlister was appointed to a personal Chair in Health Policy in 1998. Her research interests and expertise include economic appraisal and evaluation, the economics of contracting and the role of the user in health policy evaluation and she is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education.

    She has held a number of public appointments including, membership of the Ministerial Advisory Board, Water Service (NI), and the National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, interim chair Economic Research Institute (NI), membership of the Governing Body of BIFHE and a Board Member of the Northern Ireland Public Sector Enterprises Ltd (NI-CO), Department of Trade and Investment.

    Her professional appointments extend to several national/international committees including the Quality in Higher Education Group and formerly, the US National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education, the Higher Education Academy's GPA Advisory Group and the Quality Assurance Agency's FHEQ and FQHEIs Advisory Group. She is currently a member of the QAA Board, the QAA Wales Committee, the CCEA Qualifications Expert Group and the HEA PVC Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Advisory Group. 

    Professor McAlister was awarded a CBE in the 2010 New Year's Honours for services to higher education in Northern Ireland. 

    Professor Geoff McMullan

    Geoff is currently Chair of the University Employability Sub-Committee and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences.

    Since joining Ulster in 1994 Geoff has held a number of leadership roles including Subject Head for Biology and Biotechnology, Infection and Immunity Research Group Leader and Head of the Northern Ireland Centre for Functional Genomics.

    Geoff is Professor of Microbiology and his research and teaching interests focus on biotechnology, genomics and systems biology.

    Professor McMullan has an active interest in translation of research particularly in commercial diagnostics, he has been involved in a variety of industrial research collaborations, attracted funding in excess of £5 million and was awarded the Microbiology Medal by the Royal Irish Academy.

  • Location

    This event is being held at the Jordanstown campus of Ulster University.

    Ulster University – Jordanstown Campus

    Ulster University
    Shore Road
    County Antrim
    BT37 0QB

    Download campus map pdf

  • Workshops 

    Workshop 1 - Quick Fire session

    Theme: Employability in the Curriculum

    Career Entrepreneurship Leads to Graduate Success

    Glenda Martin, Employability and Marketing

    Compulsory Employability – A Review of Professional Irish

    Dr Malachy Ó Néill and Dr Caoimhín Ó Dónaill,
    School of Irish Language and Literature

    Workshop 2 - Quick Fire Session

    Theme: Innovative Models of Work-based Learning Practice

    Benefits of Embedding Transferable Employability Skills into Year 1 for Staff, Students and Industry

    Professor Jonathan Wallace, Computing and Maths
    Dr Michaela Black, School of Computing and Information Engineering
    Aaron Colton (graduate student).

    Developing knowledge and skills in risk management for Nursing students: The use of simulation and applied drama

    Pat Deeny, Diane Lyttle and Mary Findon-Henry, School of Nursing

    Workshop 3 - Quick Fire Session

    Theme: Technology for Supporting Employability  

    Social Media: Changing the Face of Recruitment?

    Lyndsay Rodgerson, Randox Laboratories Ltd

    Blogging, twitter and Instagram, The use of Social Media in Textile Art Design and Fashion placement students.

    Alison Gault, Belfast School of Art

    Workshop 4

    Developing a framework of employability: A School-wide Approach

    Professor Ruth Fee, Criminology, Politics and Social Policy

    Shauna McCloy, Employability and Marketing