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Employability, work placements, and outward mobility: views from England and Germany

Employability, work placements, and outward mobility: views from England and Germany A central role of UK higher education institutes is preparing graduates for the global economy. However, UK outward mobility targets for students set in 2017 remain lower than the original set by the Bologna Process in 1999; with other European countries achieving substantially higher outward mobility. Research in this field concentrates primarily on studying abroad, prompting exploration of the work placement context. The purpose of this paper is to examine employability and outward mobility in the context of the perceived reluctance of UK students to undertake work placements abroad.Design/methodology/approachThe views of undergraduate business management students at the Brighton Business School were compared with those of German students studying at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Staff from Brighton Business School and other UK universities were also surveyed to gather data on attitudes towards work placements abroad.FindingsStudents from Brighton and Frankfurt displayed similar barriers to going abroad but were motivated by different drivers. The difference in these drivers is further echoed in the variations of their definitions of “employability”. The research also found that lack of staff awareness or interest in placements abroad could negatively affect the students’ decisions about going abroad.Research limitations/implicationsA small-scale study such as this presents only indicative findings. Further research is necessary to explore its implications in more depth.Originality/valueThe research provides more scope to the existing literature on outward mobility by addressing work placements rather than typically focusing on studying abroad. It adds value to the debate by examining placements and mobility through two different cultural lenses. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning Emerald Publishing

Employability, work placements, and outward mobility: views from England and Germany

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2042-3896
DOI
10.1108/heswbl-10-2017-0084
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A central role of UK higher education institutes is preparing graduates for the global economy. However, UK outward mobility targets for students set in 2017 remain lower than the original set by the Bologna Process in 1999; with other European countries achieving substantially higher outward mobility. Research in this field concentrates primarily on studying abroad, prompting exploration of the work placement context. The purpose of this paper is to examine employability and outward mobility in the context of the perceived reluctance of UK students to undertake work placements abroad.Design/methodology/approachThe views of undergraduate business management students at the Brighton Business School were compared with those of German students studying at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Staff from Brighton Business School and other UK universities were also surveyed to gather data on attitudes towards work placements abroad.FindingsStudents from Brighton and Frankfurt displayed similar barriers to going abroad but were motivated by different drivers. The difference in these drivers is further echoed in the variations of their definitions of “employability”. The research also found that lack of staff awareness or interest in placements abroad could negatively affect the students’ decisions about going abroad.Research limitations/implicationsA small-scale study such as this presents only indicative findings. Further research is necessary to explore its implications in more depth.Originality/valueThe research provides more scope to the existing literature on outward mobility by addressing work placements rather than typically focusing on studying abroad. It adds value to the debate by examining placements and mobility through two different cultural lenses.

Journal

Higher Education, Skills and Work-based LearningEmerald Publishing

Published: May 9, 2018

Keywords: Internationalisation; Employability; Placements; Outward mobility

References