Bridging the gap : competencies students should focus on during their cooperative experience to enhance employability
Fleming Jenny, Zinn, Caryn and Ferkins, Lesley 2008, Bridging the gap : competencies students should focus on during their cooperative experience to enhance employability, in World Association of Co-operative Education Asia Pacific 2008 Conference : Work Integrated Learning (WIL): Transforming Futures, Practice…Pedagogy…Partnerships, Australian Collaborative Education Network, Penrith South, N.S.W., pp. 144-152.
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Cooperative education programmes aim to prepare students for the workplace by developing both generic and specific competencies that will enhance employability. Researchers have investigated the competencies relevant to business, science and technology graduates (Coll & Zegward, 2006; Hodges & Burchell, 2003). However, there is little published research on the perceptions of the skills or graduate competencies that employers desire of sport and recreation graduates entering the workforce.
The aims of the study were to identify key competencies needed by third year sport and recreation degree students entering their cooperative placement as well as to identify the difference between student and graduate competencies. An online survey of sport and recreation industry supervisors was conducted. For comparison the survey was also completed by academic supervisors from AUT University. Supervisors were asked to rate the importance of specific competencies (adapted from Coll & Zegward, 2006) for the cooperative student and for the graduate.
To enhance employability in the sport and recreation industry, academic programmes within a university need to ensure that students are provided with opportunities to facilitate the development of competencies including the ability and willingness to learn, the use of initiative and personal organisational skills. Cooperative education experiences should be designed to provide opportunities for students to develop in the areas of relationship building as well as teamwork and cooperation in order to increase their likelihood of employment as graduates. It is important to identify and communicate to the tertiary education providers the needs of the industry in order to create successful cooperative education partnerships.
Field of Research
150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
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