E. Caulfield1, J. Monk2, E. Arntsen3, J. Rypestol4, D. Galiana5, G. Zilgalve6, A. Ceplitis6, D. Martinez1, T. Ward1, D. Lopez5

1University of Salford (UNITED KINGDOM)
2The Business Group (UNITED KINGDOM)
3University of Agder (NORWAY) (NORWAY)
5Universidad Miguel Hernandez (SPAIN)
DEPICT: Developing Employability Programmes using Interactive Curriculum Technologies is a project with two key aims: firstly, to understand the skills that small and medium-sized enterprises in the Creative and Cultural Industries require from graduates wishing to enter the sector; secondly, research and evaluate the effectiveness of using interactive technologies for developing employability skills in these students.

The University of Salford, in partnership with University Miguel Hernandez (Spain), University of Agders (Norway), Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration (Latvia), The Business Group (UK), Business Confederation of the Province of Alicante (Spain), Entrepreneurship Training Academy (Norway) and the Motion Picture Industry of Latvia (Latvia) successfully bid to the ERASMUS Lifelong Learning Programme for funding to develop a programme of online employability skills training to be tested on students from each partner countries.

The project’s main target audience is staff working in HEIs and other educational establishments in roles related to employability and employability development. However, the nature of the project means that businesses, learning technologists, academics and policy-makers will also have an interest in the projects outcomes. Students also form an important audience for the project as they will test the technologies and ultimately provide the necessary feedback needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the technologies.

DEPICT’s objectives are:
• To engage and conduct research with SMEs in the Creative and Cultural Industries to understand the skills they require from graduates
• To procure, install, customise and test four distinct interactive learning technologies
• To develop and deliver a series of on-line seminars to students from across the partnership to develop the key employability skills identified by the research with Creative and Cultural SMEs
• To thoroughly evaluate all aspects of the effectiveness of the chosen technologies and seminars delivered from the perspectives of the learners, trainers, project staff and SMEs
• To disseminate project findings through a number of channels (i.e. website, Twitter, conference presentations, online seminars/webinars etc) to reach local, regional, national and European audiences.

The project follows a robust research methodology directly related to achieving its objectives:
• Review current literature relating to employer requirements from graduates, research good practice in using interactive learning technologies for developing employability skills and evaluate the success of a previous ERASMUS-funded enterprise project
• Conduct research with SMEs from the Creative and Cultural Sector to identify the skills they require from graduates
• Conduct a series of online seminars using a section of interactive learning technologies to students in each partner university
• Evaluate the experiences of all key stakeholders who engage with the interactive technologies (learners, trainers, businesses)
• Publish and disseminate findings and feedback

The conference paper will present the findings of the project and introduce key resources for Universities and educational institutions looking to harness the power of online technologies in their own employability and skills development courses.