In the past 7 months, the world witnessed the prolonging impact of COVID-19. The pandemic largely changed everyone’s life: how we lived, how we worked, how we studied and even how we used to think. One significant change in education is the transition to online learning and teaching. Consequently, IBSS Employability Team also adopted online platform continuing the support to student development and better preparing them for the VUCA world. During this period, the team offered regular student consultation using online platform helping to answer students’ queries and concerns in career planning in the current situation. Moreover, the team reflected on changes that happened in labour market and business and reviewed planned activities. There was thus a shift of focusing on attributes that help to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on IBSS students’ development. Guided by such an intention, IBSS Employability Team organised nine online activities attracting more than 400 student participants in total. Key highlights include the second part of our Extended Employability Programme, Online webinar series on career planning, and Online practice interviews facilitated by HR specialist.
Webinar is a recognised way to host a large audience online. Therefore, the team arranged a series of webinars on career planning. Online technology allowed the team to record the sessions so that more students could still benefit from the information by playing back the session. IBSS Employability team was also able to carry on delivering the second part of Extended Employability Programme and revised the original plan to better meet online delivery environment while allowing interaction between facilitator and students. For example, the facilitator utilised the advantage of online platform to initiate online discussion. Through watching a movie clip and facilitating discussions on key employability attributes, students were presented a vivid demonstration of how employability attributes can enhance their development. The last two sessions were a series of online practice interviews facilitated by a HR specialist. Through simulating a job interview, students were able to identify their individual strengths and areas for improvement and hence enabled them to have a better development plan. Several student participants shared their view: "I understood the requirements of employee diversity in the financial industry better after the interview. Moreover, the activity provided me with more knowledge of career development. These two aspects helped me a lot" . "The practice interview was more interactive and made me learn more comparing to traditional lectures."
Overall, one main observation from the team is that there is a growing awareness of the value of employability attributes among student participants. As one student stated, "Employability is a kind of attributes or mindset that is necessary to keep myself employable. This programme benefited me a lot, enabled me to have a better understanding of myself, and improved my personal competence. Through seminar and practical activities , I learned a lot such as effective communication, importance of passion and commitment, and the real value of self-awareness.” In summary, IBSS puts student employability development to the fore and continues to expand and explore ways to effectively support our student development. As a key measure to student learning outcomes, the Employability team will carry on making improvements to the programme design, acquiring insightful information through research, and conducting employability-embedded core curriculum mapping.