From fourth year to the outside world: are we making our fashion graduates 'work ready' - are their skills transferable into the workplace?
Bremner, Pauline Ann Mary
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BREMNER, P.A.M. 2017. From fourth year to the outside world: are we making our fashion graduates 'work ready' - are their skills transferable into the workplace? Presented at the 3rd International enhancement in higher education conference: inspiring excellence, transforming the student experience, 6-8 June 2017, Glasgow, UK.
An honours year of any degree performs a valuable platform in enhancing the relevant skills sets, aiding the students to become more ‘work ready’. These skill sets take into account the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) benchmarks translating themselves to Level Learning Outcomes (LLOs) within the University context. However, many Robert Gordon University (RGU) fashion graduates transition into both fashion and non-fashion employment, requiring a transferable skill set. The employment market is being disrupted in two ways; career paths are becoming very transient, with skill requirements becoming more digitally and soft skill focused. Universities have to respond to these changes, embedding them in course content. This research adopted a mixed method approach to examine the alumni perspective on the skill sets they have gained from the degree and to see if they have transferred into employment or not, taking into account the provisions in place to aid the students towards finding employment. The data analysis highlighted that alumni felt they had a skill set which transferred into employment whether fashion related or not, but there were gaps in digital and group/soft skills. Additionally, it was found that many of them had not used Careers services when transitioning out of University due in part to not knowing about the services and feeling that it was their own responsibility. Recommendations provide some solutions for debate and further research. The powerpoint presentation accompanying this paper has the title "Fashion Students Transition to the Workplace from University". The slides are available also from the conference website at http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/pages/docdetail/docs/presentation/8-1-3-transition-out-of-university-into-work