Stakeholder attitudes towards employability in a Sino-British university

Sarah Speight, Natasa Lackovic, Lucy Cooker

Abstract


In 2004 the University of Nottingham opened its branch campus, the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC). Degree-awarding powers for UNNC remain with the UK, but there is recognition that Nottingham must understand the specific context of its Chinese branch; provision therefore operates according to the principal of equivalence rather than of replication. This paper explores stakeholder attitudes towards the university's Nottingham Advantage Award. This is an extra-curricular programme designed to support students in the development of their 'employability'. Launched in the UK in 2008, it was piloted at UNNC in 2010-11 and is now nearing the end of its first full year of operation. Twenty-three interviews were conducted with staff and students at UNNC. These were analysed alongside interviews carried out in the UK and with reference to the research literature. This provided an understanding of the role of the Award overall and in the UNNC context. The study shows that while stakeholders hold broadly similar views in the UK and China, there are subtle differences of emphasis concerning the understanding of, and responsibility for, learning for employability. In addition, a group of China-specific themes emerged from the UNNC interviews that indicated recognition of the need to differentiate priorities and provision for each site. The paper concludes that the challenge for the Award at UNNC is to serve both global and local agendas and that it should strive to reduce the 'information asymmetry' existing between stakeholders to promote effective graduate employability.

Keywords


Employability, Sino-British, Stakeholder attitudes, Human Capital, Curriculum

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2012vol3no1art556

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