Preparing students for the graduate labour market: from ‘unfreezing’ to ‘action’

Paul Greenbank

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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In an increasingly competitive labour market students need to be well prepared for the recruitment and selection processes adopted by graduate employers. Yet, despite students stating that their main reason for going into higher education is to obtain a ‘good’ job, they often fail to engage in activities that will enhance their ability to compete effectively in the graduate labour market. This paper is based on research (including action research) undertaken over several years in a post-1992 university in England. The research focused on how we can encourage students to improve their ability to compete in the graduate labour market - for example, by adopting more comprehensive/rational approaches to career decision-making and by participating in extra-curricular activities. The research found that the students’ values (e.g. a present time orientation, a reliance on intuition, conformity to peer norms, an external locus of control, risk aversity and a ‘purist’ orientation) often act as barriers to engaging in activities that would improve their ability to compete in the graduate labour market. This paper describes how the students have been encouraged to critically evaluate (and change) their values, and therefore their behaviour, through a series of inter-related ‘transformative’ pedagogic interventions. These interventions involved ‘unfreezing’ the students’ existing values; providing support to help students change their behaviour; and reinforcement strategies to ensure that changes in the students values are maintained and converted into actions. The paper concludes by discussing some of the problems involved in implementing these transformative pedagogies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
EventResearch in Post-Compulsory Education Conference - University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jul 201413 Jul 2014


ConferenceResearch in Post-Compulsory Education Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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