- Database of practice
- Impact Assessment for Career Planning and Management Skills Provision
Impact Assessment for Career Planning and Management Skills Provision
- University College London
- Date first submitted:
- 17 Nov 2009
- Date last modified:
- 14 Mar 2011
- Relationship to RDF:
- Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Domain B: Personal effectiveness
- Domain C: Research governance and organisation
- Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
- Engagement and impact
- Postgraduate researchers
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
In response to the expectation from the Research Councils that institutions undertake impact assessment in relation to the uses of the Roberts funding, the Graduate School commenced work with key course providers, via a range of approaches, to provide management information to: provide appropriate feedback to RCUK on the effective uses of the Roberts funds; contribute to the local and national debate on skills development for Early Career Reseachers, particularly in the light of changes to the Roberts funding mechanisms; inform the enhancement of the quality of the Skills Development Programme at UCL, and more generally the experience of research students at UCL.
The Graduate School focused on key skills training provision, which it was hoped would provide useful evidence of the individual course impact and the overall impact of the skills agenda at UCL.
The UCL Careers Service were asked to assess the impact on a small cohort of research students earlier in the year, through case studies illustrating graduate research students’ career destinations and the details of the services and training that they accessed during their time at UCL. The Careers Service, with funding from the Graduate School, extended this model across the full range of graduated research students who have taken part in the Career Planning and Management Training through the Graduate School’s Skills Development Programme.
In April 2009 the UCL Careers Service was asked to assist with a visit to UCL by the Economic and Social Research Council looking at the effectiveness of research students’ skills training. The project generated positive career case studies, by performing telephone interviews using five set questions that illustrated graduated research students’ career destinations as well as details of the services they accessed during their time at UCL.
The survey results also acted as an unofficial key performance indicator for the success of the skills programme. Research into employment destinations in this area is particularly valuable since the alternative Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey contacts graduated research students while they are still writing up, hence the majority record their destination as ‘completing their PhD’.
Additional funding was provided by the UCL Graduate School to extend the model developed for the ESRC visit across the full range of graduated research students who have taken part in skills training at UCL.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
Outcomes and Benefits:
- For each interviewee a short report was compiled containing qualitative information based on the answered questions. A key part of this information was: how beneficial a PhD is for future employability; how effective RCUK funded skills training is for enhancing career progression.
- Information regarding job / organisation destinations and factors affecting employability gained from each case study was made available online to current UCL postgraduate students to aid them with their career planning and knowledge of the labour market for PhDs.
- The case studies allowed an analysis of the proportion of PhD graduates who enter research intensive positions (either in the academic, public or commercial sectors) and broad employment trends over longer time periods.
The practical challenges of accessing current and accurate contact details for large numbers of former research students are considerable. UCL's Student Record system and the Alumni Database, in conjunction with the Careers Service's own databases, are being used.