Enhancing Employability through Professional Experience and Personal Development Planning (PDP)

By Jacqui Bleetman and Lisa Webb.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Personal Development Planning (PDP) is ‘a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and / or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development’ (1)
PDP has been introduced across the UK Higher Education sector, but the methods of implementation are determined by individual institutions. At Coventry University’s School of Art and Design, we have introduced PDP to support reflective creative practice in the first and second years. We are now planning PDP for third year students.
In addition to PDP, second year Art, Design and Media (ADM) students at Coventry University are required to undertake a professional experience opportunity. These opportunities range from traditional industry internships to ‘live’, client-led projects and business startup. As the professional experience falls at the end of second year, evaluation and reflection can only take place at the start of the third year.
In addition to supporting students’ development as reflective practitioners, we propose using PDP to enable students to reflect on and share their experience and learning with other students and the faculty. Lessons learned from both the process of finding and arranging the professional experience, and from the experience itself should help to guide graduates through the process of finding their first graduate opportunity at the end of the final year.
The alignment of Professional Experience with PDP is an additional approach in the drive to increase the employability of Art, Design and Media (ADM) students.

Keywords: Personal Development Planning, Professional Experience, Placement, Internships, Reflective Practice, Art Design and Media Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 10, pp.191-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 462.082KB).

Jacqui Bleetman

Teaching Development Fellow, School of Art and Design, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK

After 15 years working as an Information Designer in the software industry, I became a lecturer at Coventry University School of Art and Design. I taught on and ran the Technical Communication undergraduate course for several years. I have been involved in Professional Practice throughout my teaching career and became the school coordinator for Professional Experience, Enterprise and Employability. I am currently the school Teaching Development Fellow with responsibility for Enterprise and Employability.

Lisa Webb

Teaching Development Fellow, Coventry University School of Art and Design, Coventry University, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK

Recent pedagogic research interests explore Personal Development Planning. The ethos of this employs a holistic and reflective approach to support students’ creative practice and career aspirations within the creative industries. This work compliments the university’s employability and enterprise agenda, and innovations within the school to embed work-based learning within the curriculum. This local work enables Lisa to offer support in a cross-university role. As a development of the PDP work, she is currently investigating students’ motivational behaviour. This research aims to help tutors identify levels of motivations within their students as a means of aiding retention, and as a way to better support students personalise their learning. Within the School, the Teaching Development Fellows aim to provide a supportive role for teaching and learning. This involves mentoring, supporting and implementing: pedagogic research, innovations in teaching and learning, curriculum development, e-learning, teaching and learning strategy and providing staff development in the form of teaching and learning events.

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