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Embedding employability in the curriculum: A comparative study of employer engagement models adopted by design programmes in China and the UK

Qian Sun (University of Salford, Salford, UK)

Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-1396

Article publication date: 1 March 2011

890

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to draw on the experience of students, employers, and tutors in the two product design degree programmes, respectively, delivered at the University of Salford in the UK and at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, to examine the differences in employer engagement embedded within the curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach

Two in‐depth case studies supported by interviews have been conducted, which are represented as two distinctive employer engagement models. These two models are compared in terms of context, employer perception, curriculum development, and challenges for sustainability.

Findings

An understanding has been generated of the differences and suggests a collaborative framework between these two programmes, which draws the advantages of both sides together. The findings also shed light on the development of curriculum to engage employers, recognise a move away from “teaching” towards “managing learning opportunities” and the complexities of employer engagement, and explore how this may be embedded.

Originality/value

To address employability agenda, one of the main problems faced by higher education institutions is the content of curriculum and its relevance to the employment market. Engaging employers in the curriculum becomes key in addressing this issue, and this is especially typical for the design industry, given its unique characteristics. However, little has been researched as to how universities across different cultures achieve employer engagement. Understanding of the differences helps universities from different regions to seek potential sustainability solutions that may be bred on the basis of collaboration.

Keywords

Citation

Sun, Q. (2011), "Embedding employability in the curriculum: A comparative study of employer engagement models adopted by design programmes in China and the UK", Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 36-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/17561391111106016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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