Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability
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Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability

A Connectedness Learning Approach

Edited by Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

This book challenges the dominant ‘employability skills’ discourse by exploring socially connected and networked perspectives to learning and teaching in higher education. Both learning and career development happen naturally and optimally in ecologies, informal communities and partnerships. In the digital age, they are also highly networked. This book presents ten empirical case studies of educational practice that investigate the development of learner capabilities, teaching approaches, and institutional strategies in higher education, to foster lifelong graduate employability through social connectedness.
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Chapter 2: Connectedness capabilities

Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett


It is widely agreed that upon leaving university, students should be equipped with the foundational capabilities to enable them to build and manage their careers, add economic and social value through their work, and continue learning. One critical and yet often under-recognised sub-set of these activities is the student’s ability to build, maintain and make the most of mutually beneficial professional relationships over time, including via digital platforms and social media. This chapter draws upon extant literature to discuss why the ability to connect with others is important to employability, and how it is currently included in higher education curricula. The chapter outlines five connectedness capabilities from the Connectedness Learning Approach that will enable graduates to develop and make the most of meaningful social relationships and networks for employability. The chapter introduces three contrasting empirical studies that focus on the development of learners’ connectedness capabilities, and the impact that connectedness capabilities have on graduates’ lives and careers.

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