Ellie Shepherd

University of Sheffield: The University of Sheffield Employer Awards: Engaging Languages Students


I will be discussing how the University of Sheffield Careers Service have used Employer Awards to engage Language students with employability. I will talk about what the Employer Awards entail using an example of a recent successful collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Global Law Firm Norton Rose Fulbright. Norton Rose Fulbright were looking to raise their profile at the University of Sheffield among non-law students, and as there an international firm language graduates have a lot of valuable skills to offer. The University of Sheffield Careers Service worked collaboratively with Norton Rose Fulbright to create an Employer Award competition. This is open exclusively to students in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield. Students were asked to complete an essay on the following topic: “Globalisation and therefore my language degree will be advantageous to law firms”. Winners of the award were offered a week’s paid placement at the firm’s London office, and runners up were given the opportunity to attend an insight day. The Award also appears on students’ Higher Education Achievement reports, and is announced at their graduation ceremony.
The scheme first ran in the 2013-2014 academic year and was a great success. Norton Rose Fulbright were impressed with the quality of student applications, and the winner of the competition is now interested in pursuing a career in law. The competition is running again this academic year and the firm have seen the same high standard of applications.

Jacqueline Page and Lourdes Melcion

University of Roehampton: Work Based Learning as a Model for the Development of Employability Skills in Applied Language Programmes at the University of Roehampton


With employability high on the higher education agenda, this paper presents an example of how a credit-bearing employability module can be integrated into the final year of a Modern Languages degree programme. The Modern Languages undergraduate degrees at the University of Roehampton include a number of modules which seek to enhance students’ employability, the most notable of which is the final year 20 credit Work Based Learning module. This module has been running for over 10 years, during which time it has been progressively refined and has evolved into the popular module it is today. Students apply for the module by sending a letter of application stating their reasons for choosing the module, and if accepted go on to do 100 hours of voluntary work, typically for an NGO or in a school, but some also secure placements with other cultural institutions or even private companies. Students must use one of their languages in the placement. They keep a log of work, give a 5 minute oral presentation on their placement, submit CVs in two languages and write a 2,000 word reflective report on the placement for the module assessment. They must write the report in their second language. Students also attend induction sessions on a range of employability topics throughout the year and are responsible for arranging tutorials with module tutors to discuss their progress.

Ricky Lowes

University of Plymouth: Developing Professional Competences through Multicultural Team-work


This talk explores embedding employability within a language module, English for Global Communication, which aims to develop students’ ability to communicate in English across cultures, for personal and professional purposes. Students engage in a work-based learning project: consultancies where the students carry out research on behalf of a client and use the findings to advise their clients on strategies to enhance communication with people from other cultures and to meet the needs of a diverse client base. Through the project, students enhance their employability skills for the global workplace, via developing general professional communication and team working skills, along with specific expertise in working in and with culturally diverse groups. The talk will explain how the syllabus is woven round the need to provide the theoretical and linguistic underpinnings for the work to come; to develop the affective basis for teamwork, and to scaffold the work-based learning as it progresses through the steps of the project. At the end of the project, students reflect on their learning and are introduced to the skills of showcasing their own employability qualities in a session with careers staff. I will discuss the challenges inherent in such work and how they can be overcome.

Amparo Lallana, Victoria Pastor-González and Olga Helly

Regent’s University London: “Your CV is only the tip of the iceberg”: Embedding employability in language modules at Regent’s University London


Given the applied nature of RUL’s degree in International Business, employability is embedded in European language modules right from the first year and explored with growing complexity and scope as the students’ linguistic capacity develops. Additionally, as a large proportion of students on the programme aspire to set up their own company, entrepreneurship provides the background for language learning activities. Ultimately, the aim is to support the students’ journey from the exploration of their own skills and personal abilities in the foreign language, to an increasing awareness of how their skillsets fit into wider contexts of the target language societies.

In this presentation we will share examples of strategies and tasks across language modules at RUL from a case study based role-play in Russian semester 3, to negotiating a new company in Final Year Spanish where some of the most valued skills, e.g. professional communication, negotiation, flexibility and confidence are activated.


Last updated: 03 May 2018