Building a Student Employability Framework to Aid Student Engagement and Retention

The accessibility of higher education has increased, leading to a larger and more diverse group of students than ever before being enrolled in higher education. With high competition within the sector, the need to deliver enhanced, more personalised experiences is a must in order to attract, engage and retain.

Currently, the 15% of tertiary students who fail to be retained for a second year of study represent a loss of approximately AUS$4.37 billion each year. As such universities are looking to new, innovative methods to help retain students through enhanced tertiary experiences.

Ahead of the Student Retention and Success Summit 2018 we chat to Dr. Dino Willox, Director of Student Employability at the University of Queensland (UQ). In this article Dino shares details of UQ’s Student Employability framework which is shifting learning from the didactic to the experiential and aiding overall engagement and retention.

Developing Frameworks

Exploring UQ’s Student Employability Framework

“At the University of Queensland we’ve come to notice that employers are demanding more from their potential employees, with recent articles published suggesting that some of the big employers aren’t actually looking at GPA at all. A degree is standard now – instead employers want to know what else you can offer – which is why we developed our Student Employability framework.

At UQ we view employability as a broader process that encompasses experiential learning, work integrated learning and career development learning. Within the student employability centre we have a careers team, but we also have a work integrated learning team that works with academics to embed employability in the curriculum.

Some four years ago we developed the framework that aims to make learning and experience, not ‘being employed’ the end goal of all actions. The framework, which can be overlaid in a number of different learning environments, is predicated on four pillars; awareness, experience, learning and transfer.

Pillar 1 – Awareness: recognising that a degree is necessary but not all. With globalisation of higher education now, more people have degrees, and to be able to stand out you need to do more.

Pillar 2 – Experience: getting involved in a whole range of experiences to give you the opportunity to learn from them.

Pillar 3 – Learning: self-reflection and learning from those experiences and understanding how these experiences have transformed you. These experiences aren’t just traditional internships and placements however, but also include learnings gained from extracurricular activities like volunteering and sports.

Pillar 4 – Transfer: transferring your learning into the workplace and making it meaningful for future employers.

The idea behind the framework is that is can be used by anybody – although we’ve designed it for students and the higher education space, the framework easily overlays professional and personal development also.”

Read More

Download the full article with Dino to learn more about:

  • University of Queensland’s student employability framework
  • The importance of shifting focus from the academic to the experiential for modern students
  • Increasing support and engagement to aid student retention and success

Learn More

To learn more about the strategies some of Australia’s leading higher education providers are harnessing to improve student retention and success, join us at the Student Retention and Success Summit 2018.

The event, held in Melbourne on the 27th – 28th of June brings together over 16 student retention and experience experts from the likes of the University of Southern Queensland, Curtin University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Technology Sydney and La Trobe.


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