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You said, we did! Employer led work-simulated learning framework for enhancing ecology graduate employability
Journal of Biological Education, Volume: 57, Issue: 4, Pages: 746 - 765
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This study aims to reduce the skills redundancy in ecology graduates by developing an employer-tailored work-simulated learning curriculum. Furthermore, we evaluate the overall potential of work-simulated learning (WSL) as a key pedagogic component of a work-integrated learning (WIL) framework. We e...
|Published in:||Journal of Biological Education|
Informa UK Limited
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This study aims to reduce the skills redundancy in ecology graduates by developing an employer-tailored work-simulated learning curriculum. Furthermore, we evaluate the overall potential of work-simulated learning (WSL) as a key pedagogic component of a work-integrated learning (WIL) framework. We employed the DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) approach that encompassed i) surveying ecology-facing employers and job descriptions, ii) creating a programme of WSL, iii) a comprehensive review (student questionnaire and Industrial Steering Group workshop). A two-tiered curriculum was created; 15-credit FHEQ-5 residential field course and a 20-credit work-simulated learning FHEQ-6 module. Simulations included Phase I Habitat mapping, protected species surveys, and Preliminary Ecological Appraisals. Students developed greater knowledge of employment opportunities, enhanced technical skills, and improved their CV and employability. The steering group substantiated and validated the WSL strategy, supporting the high relevance for enhancing graduate employability, while identifying curriculum gaps and areas for refinement. These outcomes highlight the wide-reaching benefits of practice-driven WSL opportunities as a key component of a wider WIL framework. HIE–employer interactions are also critical in ensuring content relevance; however, we recommend the faculty exercise pragmatism by employing suitable pedagogic strategies to ensure they conform to the constraints of HEI while satisfying employer needs.
Work-integrated learning, STEM, graduate skills, conservation, fieldwork
Faculty of Science and Engineering