Developing Business Students' Employability Skills Through Working in Partnership with a Local Business to Deliver an Undergraduate Mentoring Programme

Sue Spence, Denis Hyams-Ssekasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose:
Working collaboratively with local business is vitally important in the delivery of Higher Education in Further Education. This study aims to explore an effective way of engaging local employers to enhance the employability skills of students through a closely monitored and supported mentoring relationship. The project was developed in order to address the employability needs of final year business students at a higher education facility offered by a college situated in the North West of England.

Design/methodology/approach:
Qualitative data was collected through the use of reflective journals and a series of focus groups with mentors and mentees

Findings:
Overall both mentors and mentees reported positive responses to the mentoring scheme. From the mentees point of view self-confidence, employability skills and networks were enhanced. Mentors reported satisfaction in contributing to the local community. Challenges were found in matching mentors with appropriate mentees. A perceived poor match negatively affected the relationship. Mentors reported that mentees lacked career direction and seemed to have limited understanding of what was expected in the mentoring process.

Research limitations/implications:
The scope of this study is one mentoring scheme in one institution and therefore has limited generalisability. However, there are implications for the development of further mentoring schemes in other institutions in the UK and beyond.

Originality:
This mentoring scheme was carried out in FE that offers HE courses in a northern town with above average levels of unemployment and with a diverse ethnic population. The scheme involves senior managers volunteering to support business undergraduates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-314
Number of pages16
JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

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employability
mentoring
student
further education
self-confidence
unemployment
education
employer
town
career
manager
methodology
community
Group

Cite this

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abstract = "Purpose: Working collaboratively with local business is vitally important in the delivery of Higher Education in Further Education. This study aims to explore an effective way of engaging local employers to enhance the employability skills of students through a closely monitored and supported mentoring relationship. The project was developed in order to address the employability needs of final year business students at a higher education facility offered by a college situated in the North West of England.Design/methodology/approach:Qualitative data was collected through the use of reflective journals and a series of focus groups with mentors and menteesFindings: Overall both mentors and mentees reported positive responses to the mentoring scheme. From the mentees point of view self-confidence, employability skills and networks were enhanced. Mentors reported satisfaction in contributing to the local community. Challenges were found in matching mentors with appropriate mentees. A perceived poor match negatively affected the relationship. Mentors reported that mentees lacked career direction and seemed to have limited understanding of what was expected in the mentoring process.Research limitations/implications:The scope of this study is one mentoring scheme in one institution and therefore has limited generalisability. However, there are implications for the development of further mentoring schemes in other institutions in the UK and beyond.Originality:This mentoring scheme was carried out in FE that offers HE courses in a northern town with above average levels of unemployment and with a diverse ethnic population. The scheme involves senior managers volunteering to support business undergraduates.",
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N2 - Purpose: Working collaboratively with local business is vitally important in the delivery of Higher Education in Further Education. This study aims to explore an effective way of engaging local employers to enhance the employability skills of students through a closely monitored and supported mentoring relationship. The project was developed in order to address the employability needs of final year business students at a higher education facility offered by a college situated in the North West of England.Design/methodology/approach:Qualitative data was collected through the use of reflective journals and a series of focus groups with mentors and menteesFindings: Overall both mentors and mentees reported positive responses to the mentoring scheme. From the mentees point of view self-confidence, employability skills and networks were enhanced. Mentors reported satisfaction in contributing to the local community. Challenges were found in matching mentors with appropriate mentees. A perceived poor match negatively affected the relationship. Mentors reported that mentees lacked career direction and seemed to have limited understanding of what was expected in the mentoring process.Research limitations/implications:The scope of this study is one mentoring scheme in one institution and therefore has limited generalisability. However, there are implications for the development of further mentoring schemes in other institutions in the UK and beyond.Originality:This mentoring scheme was carried out in FE that offers HE courses in a northern town with above average levels of unemployment and with a diverse ethnic population. The scheme involves senior managers volunteering to support business undergraduates.

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