• Effective Management of the Tripartite Relationship of Educational Providers, Participants and Employers in Work Based Learning

      Rowe, Lisa; Moss, Danny; Moore, Neil; University of Chester
      An increasing concern amongst many graduate employers has been the perceived poor quality of graduates entering employment. Some of the most common employer criticisms include a lack of commercial awareness, unrealistic work expectations and poor work readiness (Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 2011; Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) 2014). Moreover, many of the skills shortages observed amongst undergraduate students, appear to be equally common amongst postgraduate students, particularly given the forecast that one in seven jobs will require a postgraduate qualifcation by 2022 (Wilson and Homenidou 2012). The inference here is that the UK is likely to face a significant graduate and postgraduate skills gap by 2022 unless corrective action is taken. Growing concerns about business graduate skills are likely to force many universities to re-examine and reconfigure the content of, and their approach to, business education. This chapter focuses on the increasingly problematic and challenging postgraduate marketplace where universities not only face criticism regarding the skills levels of their graduates but where they also have to work hard to attract the most talented students and graduates. Here universities are not only competing against each other, but increasingly face a growing challenge from a range of private sector providers and employer-led graduate schemes. To gain a better understanding of if and how postgraduate provision is evolving to meet the needs of employers in the twenty-first century, we have adopted a ‘360 degree’, tripartite perspective of the postgraduate marketplace, exploring the interaction between the key players—students, employers and universities/educational institutions. Arguably, it is only when all three perspectives are brought together and understood fully, that it is possible to construct a sustainable postgraduate strategy and effectively locate learning in the workplace (Boud and Solomon 2001; Raelin 1997). In addition, this chapter examines the experiences and challenges of developing and managing an innovative 12 month intensive work based Masters programme (the Chester Business Master’s—CBM), which is located in the University’s Centre for Work-Related Studies (CWRS) and draws heavily on the core principles of reflective learning based around a negotiated learning contract. Here the strengths and weaknesses of the programme are examined through the ‘tripartite lens’ of the students, employer and university perspectives. The structure and key features of the Chester Business Master’s (CBM) are explored in more detail in a longitudinal case study presented later in this chapter.
    • The role of higher education institutions in sustainability initiatives at the local level

      Filho, Walter L.; Vargas, Valeria R.; Salvia, Amanda L.; Brandli, Luciana L.; Pallant, Eric; Klavins, Maris; Ray, Subhasis; Moggi, Sara; Maruna, Marija; Conticelli, Elisa; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-06-07)
      Universities are central players and important economic actors in many regions, and many of them are, in general, nationally and internationally active in respect of matters related to sustainable development. But there is a paucity of research which examines their contributions towards sustainability efforts at the local level, i.e. in the places they are situated. This paper addresses this need, by reporting on a qualitative study deploying a Matrix, which allows an analysis and reporting of regional sustainable development initiatives of a set of 22 universities in industrialised and developing countries. Recommendations to enhance their role are provided, including the importance of pursuing partnerships and joint initiatives, understanding the need of local communities, and making their know-how more widely available. The scientific value of this research is related to the understanding of how the interaction between universities and local communities happens and by shedding light to this topic, it supports universities to improve their own actions. Its implications are two-fold: it demonstrates the potential of universities as local players and outlines the range of activities they may engage with, and which may allow them to act as pillars to local sustainability initiatives.
    • When Employer Brand Image Aids Employee Satisfaction and Engagement

      Davies, Gary; Mete, Melisa; Whelan, Susan; University of Chester; University of Manchester; Waterford Institute of Technology (Emerald, 2018-03-12)
      Purpose. To test whether employee characteristics (age, gender, role and experience) influence the effects of employer brand image, for warmth and competence, on employee satisfaction and engagement. Design/methodology. Members of the public were surveyed as to their satisfaction and engagement with their employer and their view of their employer’s brand image. Half were asked to evaluate their employer’s ‘warmth’ half its ‘competence’. The influence of employee characteristics was tested on a ‘base model’ linking employer image to satisfaction and engagement using a mediated moderation model. Findings. The base model proved valid; satisfaction partially mediates the influence of employer brand image on engagement. Age and experience, gender and whether the role involved customer contact moderate both the influence of the employer brand image and of satisfaction on engagement. Research implications. Employee engagement can be influenced directly or indirectly by different aspects of the employer’s brand image and to different extents. Employee demographics and role can influence the relationships between the employer’s brand image and both satisfaction and engagement. Practical implications. Engagement varies with employee characteristics and both segmenting employees and promoting the employer’s brand image differentially to specific groups are ways way to counter this effect. Originality. The contexts in which employer brand image can influence employees in general and specific groups of employees in particular are not well understood. This is the first empirical study of the influence of employer brand image on employee engagement and one of few that considers the application of employee segmentation. Keywords: Employer brand, segmentation, employee satisfaction, engagement, age, experience