The Building of a Professional: Creating Greater Career Identity within a Degree

By Brett Freudenberg, Mark Brimble and Craig Cameron.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

The skills required by a student to excel both academically and in their chosen professional careers have been identified by many institutions, and can be referred to as ‘generic capabilities’. These generic capabilities can extend from interpersonal skills, problem solving, oral communication and career skills. In recent years concerns have been raised about a gap emerging between graduate attributes developed in university degrees and what industry requires (Yap, 1997; Albrecht and Sack, 2000; Kavanagh and Drennen, 2008). This is often referred to as a lack of ‘employment readiness’ of students and the need to engage industry with students and the curriculum. Such a concern was highlighted in the 2007 report titled ‘Graduate Employability Skills’ prepared for the Business, Industry and Higher Education Collaboration Council. One of the generic skills of concern is career skills, which relates to knowledge of the relevant profession, the ability to interact with the profession and seek a career.
To address this concern a Professional Development Program (the PDP) was developed. The PDP is integrated into a Business Degree and is designed to systematically develop students’ learning, employment and generic skills and supplements their theoretical studies. It is argued that this integration of the PDP permeating throughout the Degree enhances students’ generic capabilities, including their career skills.
This paper details the procedures that have been developed, and provides preliminary evidence that the PDP has, from the perspective of students, made a substantial contribution to the building of a ‘professional’. In particular, we argue that integrating professional skills and awareness systematically into an undergraduate degree in partnership with industry has developed students’ generic capabilities, improved their employment readiness and provided students with a greater understanding of their future profession.

Keywords: Generic Capabilities, Work Integrated Learning, Professional Skills, Academic Skills

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp.253-266. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.664MB).

Dr. Brett Freudenberg

Senior Lecturer - Taxation, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Queensland, Australia

Brett Freudenberg is a currently a Senior Lecturer at the Griffith Business School within the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics at Griffith University (Australia). In addition to his taxation teaching, Brett is enrolled in a PhD focusing on Tax Transparent Companies. In 2006 Brett received the Fulbright Award, which saw him conduct research at the University of Illinois to analyse the proliferation of new business forms in the United States and their potential for application to Australian businesses. Brett has received a number of teaching accolades, including most recently in 2008 a teaching citation from the Australian Learning & Teaching Council for his outstanding contributions to student learning. In 2007, he was part of a team that was awarded Griffith University’s “Excellence in Teaching for Programs that Enhance Learning Category”; and individually Brett received a “Certification of Commendation for Excellence in Teaching”. Previously, in 2005 he was jointly awarded a Griffith Business School Teaching Citation and in 2003 Brett received the Early Career Award for Teaching Excellence from Griffith University. He has pursued the scholarship of learning and has presented his research at number of teaching conferences, as well as publishing in refereed teaching journals.

Assoc. Prof. Mark Brimble

Senior Lecturer, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Craig Cameron

Lecturer, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


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