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About this project

Overview

'Your English Degree - Making it Work' has been developed as a personal development planning resource specifically for English degree students. The project was led by Andrea Duncan, PDP Coordinator, The University of Northampton, for The Higher Education Academy English and Humanities Subject Centre.

Project Aims and Objectives

The aims of the project were to help students make clearer links between their academic study and future workplace skills, and to begin earlier serious exploration of career options. By developing English-specific materials which encourage PDP processes such as skills articulation, reflection on learning, and action-planning within an employability context, students increase their self-awareness and broaden their career ideas.

Content

The material builds on previous skills workshops with year 1 English students and has been developed for levels 2/3 to incorporate greater understanding of employability and skills transferability. Eight tasks include an analysis of skills developed through specific assignments, refining evidence for use in selection processes, and practising networking skills. Careers resources are also provided, including graduate case studies from alumni, as a basis for a careers exploration exercise.

Feedback from Pilot Workshops

Selected exercises were piloted in four seminar workshops with year 1 and 2 undergraduates on English programmes. Student feedback was very positive, almost all rating the content and materials as excellent or good on a four point scale. They felt better informed about the purpose of reflection on learning, and more confident about the value in the workplace of skills being developed on the degree. Almost all students planned some specific action to address their employability development or career planning. Comments emphasised the personal value of reflective exercises in highlighting skills gaps, becoming more self-aware, and encouraging greater clarity and ideas about how to improve future chances.

Feedback from staff involved was also positive, with useful comments on editing the material, an invitation to run ongoing workshops in the future, and willingness to promote with colleagues in departments.

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