Is Higher Education unfit for purpose in the preparation of young people work in media industries?

Authors: Woodfall, A., Van Raalte, C., Wallis, R. and Dent, T.

Start date: 4 November 2016

In the UK (as in many parts of the world) Higher Education has now assumed the principal role in preparing work-ready students for the media industries. This shift of responsibility from employer to university (and individual) is part of a broader structural and cultural change. Employer obligations generally have decreased, together with the prospect of job security and structured career development. Young graduates generally find themselves on short-term (often freelance) project-based contracts, dependent upon their own self-entrepreneurship, networks and networking skills, ‘flexibility’, and ability to self-brand and self-promote. This MERJ Conversation addresses the issues raised for universities in preparing students for this increasingly individualized, casualized, and fragmented world of work. It is structured around a series of provocations that address a number of subsidiary questions including: • What do we know about the lived experiences of entry-level graduates in media industries? • What should be the role of employers in preparing students for industry? • How effective can universities be in helping students to be work-ready, as well as critical and reflexive practitioners?

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