The introduction of a learning innovation to enhance the employability of event management students: an action research study.
Start date: 14 July 2010
Curriculum innovation in higher education is often directed at efficiency; however, this paper reports a small change in the curriculum which was designed to enhance student employability. Central to the learning and assessment of an undergraduate Events Management unit is that the students, in groups, organise a real event. In the academic year 2008-09, ‘clients’ were sought for each group, for whom the students could act as consultants in the organisation of an event. Communication skills in relation to consultancy were a particular emphasis of the innovation, which was evaluated using an action research methodology. Data, collected during the year, suggested that just over half of the cohort believed the approach was helping them to obtain a 40 week industrial placement for the following year. Furthermore, about three-quarters of the students felt that it would be beneficial in employment, first, during their placement (30% indicated it would be very useful) and secondly, after graduation. Upon completion of the events, the student group leaders and the clients were each asked to rate the other party and this showed that the clients also had a very favourable opinion of the students. Recommendations for minor modifications to the format were then made for the next academic year.