Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fifth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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The alumni narrative of the connection between university skills and knowledge, and industry: An ‘outside-in’ understanding
David Fleischman, Peter English

Last modified: 25-06-2019


This study takes an ‘outside-in’ approach by exploring the narratives of university alumni working in industry. The aim of the study is to understand how engaging with industry alumni supports and informs graduate skills and knowledge needed for future employability, and university career/future focused curriculum design. To achieve the aim, the study adopted an Appreciative Inquiry approach to guide a series of n=8 depth interviews recorded in a digital video format. This approach provided alumni with a platform to construct their unique professional narratives in a manner that was relatable and engaging to students, and that universities could use as an educational tool. Data from the interviews resulted in three main themes: 1) the necessity of soft-skills and work experience, 2) the importance of resilience, and 3) the willingness to constantly learn. Theoretically, the findings contribute externally validated support and extension of important and desirable graduate attributes, providing evidence for informing and extending career/future focused curriculum design. Practically, the findings provide students and universities with professional confirmation and foresight of the skills and knowledge needed to transition and navigate the professional workforce, along with an educational tool to implement into curriculum.

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