In early 2020 the University of Sheffield developed an Employability Action Plan for its students. Key to the plans’ success was the development of an underpinning Skills Framework.
The University needed a way to roll out its new Skills Framework to students.
A solution for student self-assessment against the Skills Framework was needed at speed. For adoption and scale-up, it needed to provide an engaging student user experience and gain support and buy-in from a range of stakeholders at the University.
GTI worked with the University of Sheffield to develop a skills assessment tool within targetconnect. This resulted in the creation of a Skills Framework which includes e-learning pathways to develop skills which students identified as needing focus.
Within the university, a Student Skills and Employability Group (SSEG) was established to prioritise and guide activity related to the Employability Action Plan. This group included senior academic leads, representatives from the library, global engagement, wellbeing, the international college, academic skills centre, and careers as well as the Students’ Union’s chief executive, employability lead and sabbatical officers.
In May 2020 the SSEG approved the development of the proposed skills assessment tool as a priority, ensuring university-wide buy-in. A consultation process including a student panel were asked for their opinions on the proposed framework and the structure of the skills development tool. International students were consulted regarding the language used; and students with specific learning difficulties considered the language and portfolio design from an accessibility perspective. University alumni also contributed views on the suitability of the proposed framework and the language used within it.
Close consultation continued throughout summer 2020. This coincided with the technical and design development underway at GTI to create a self-audit framework and statements, with linked online pathways providing learning and skills development opportunities associated with specific skill areas. As functionality was being developed, it was being tested by staff and students to ensure we had a product ready for launch.
Students were asked to name the tool, which they did, and mySkills was born.
What was delivered
Every student at Sheffield now has access to mySkills and can start to build their own unique portfolio of development experiences and reflections. Feedback from students using the tool has been positive and contributes to the ongoing development of its functionality and content.
Following pilot activity to adopt the use of mySkills in core academic modules as a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘could do’, the university has confirmed as part of its education strategy that mySkills will be incorporated into every first-year undergraduate programme to enhance student self-awareness, reflection and future employability.
The success of the Sheffield mySkills project resulted in the creation of a Skills Development Framework rolled out by GTI across the targetconnect network. Based around ten core parent-level skills, each with three child-level attributes, the targetconnect Skills Development Framework allows students and graduates to self-assess against 30 core skills; build their skills portfolio; and develop their proficiency through associated developmental Pathways served up by the targetconnect platform.
Almost 50 Universities across the UK and Ireland are now using the targetconnect Skills Development Framework, and we were proud to be shortlisted, alongside the University of Sheffield, for the ISE Awards 2022: Outstanding University Partnership with a Supplier category.
If you would like to find out more about how targetconnect can help you deliver a Skills Development Framework for your students, please get in touch today: contact your account manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org