hat we mean by career readiness

Career readiness programmes typically develop a range of skills including:

Key competences and skills

From creative problem-solving to organisation skills, critical thinking, communication skills, the ability to work well in teams, digital skills, leadership, emotional intelligence, etc... while the list of competencies varies, employers are clear that graduates need to possess these skills to be successful in the worplace.

Career and self-management skills

Setting realistic and meaningful career goals, identifying and researching job opportunities, securing and succeeding at interviews, understanding work/life balance, a commitment to continuous personal and professional development ... these skills are not only vital to transition from study to work, but are key to long term professional success and happiness.

The three big challenges of Career Readiness

#1 Combining curricular and co-curricular learning

Curricular and co-curricular skill development both form part of career readiness development. Embedding competencies into the curriculum strengthens the formal degree if students are able to reflect and articulate on their skills development. However, a simple focus on curricular career readiness misses out on the rich source of learning opportunities provided by the wider Higher Education experience: attending guest lectures, professional events, active participation in extra-curricular activities and societies, Moocs, volunteering opportunities, mentoring, conversations with personal tutors, studying abroad, work placements, entrepreneurial projects, etc. are all essential and highly beneficial to developing key competences. The challenge for universities is how these learning moments can be captured, accredited and encouraged.

#2 Making career readiness engaging and tangible

Similar to any other field of learning, developing career readiness requires time and effort from the learner. Few students will disagree that career readiness learning benefits them. However, for most students this benefit lies too far in the future to invest time today. Compared to let’s say, studying for the next exam, career readiness feels like an intangible learning goal and something you can leave for later. That Career Services are at their busiest just before or after graduation is testament that most students leave investing into career readiness until it’s too late. The challenge for universities is how to make career readiness tangible, and how it can be turned into a development journey that consistently engages students throughout their degree.

#3 Implementing career readiness at scale

Understanding yourself and committing to personal and professional development form the basis of career readiness. This focus on individual personal development is however at odds with standard university process. While it makes perfect sense to teach students in cohorts as part of their degree, the same group of students are very likely to differ strongly in their individual strengths and development needs. The challenge for universities is how they can provide a student experience that takes individual career readiness needs into account, for thousands of learners, in a context of limited resources.

Career Readiness Awards

Career Readiness Awards have rapidly emerged as the key solution for delivering an excellent student experience around personal and professional development.

CRAs set minimum career readiness standards for students. Meeting these development goals is incentivised and rewarded with digital badges/ certificates, often presented on graduation at the same time as degree awards. This makes career readiness tangible and provides a clear learning goal.

At the start of the Awards learning journey, students typically undergo a self-audit of their skills and development needs and are encouraged to think about their strengths, goals and future careers. This results in a personal development plan for graduate attributes with clear goals. Students then seek to meet these personal development targets throughout each part of their degree, by engaging in opportunities offered as part of their Higher Education experience. Both curricular and extra-curricular learning moments are captured by the student to fulfil the award requirements.

CRAs are typically co-curricular in nature, but delivered campus-wide. They result in a measurable increase in engagement with events, workshops and extra-curricular offerings, while preparing students in a meaningful way for the workplace.

How Potential.ly supports a holistic approach to Career Readiness

The potential.ly platform has been developed in close partnership with academics and industry professionals to transform engagement with career readiness at scale.

To learn more, get in touch with us to discuss how we can support career readiness at your institution.

November 5, 2021
Career Services

More from

Career Services


view all