USING RESEARCH-BASED TEACHING TO HELP THE UNEMPLOYED IN IRELAND UPSKILL AND RESKILL FOR SUSTAINABLE WORK
Trinity College, University of Dublin (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This paper sets out the development and specification of a research-based soft-skills training course designed to help the unemployed develop management skills which will assist them in finding new employment. It was developed in response to the Irish Higher Education Authority's labour activation fund for education and training - Springboard. The aim of this initiative is to help unemployed people to remain as close as possible to the labour market by accessing part-time flexible higher education and training opportunities to upskill or reskill in areas where sustainable employment opportunities may arise as the economy recovers.
The ‘Managing People and Processes’ course developed is a two module course with a 10 ECTS load with 240 hours allocated and makes explicit reference to research undertaken by the School of Psychology in EU-funded Framework projects, Leonardo da Vinci projects and various consultancy projects with industry. Building on the applied research undertaken by the group in transnational collaborative multi-disciplinary projects the course modules will situate the students’ understanding of the topic in the practical world. The aim of the course is to allow workers to adapt their roles and develop skills in improving productivity and organisational effectiveness in order to be more attractive candidates in the turbulent job market. This course is intended for junior and middle management-level personnel and experienced operational staff who need to upskill in management skills to improve their job prospects in the services, construction, manufacturing and green economy sectors. The course is particulary useful for unemployed SME workers who have not had access to personnel development assistance in their previous employment. The course coveres theory, skills and practical strategies for managing people and managing processes. ‘Managing People’ covers generic management strategies to improve personal effectiveness as well as dealing with skills to manager others in the areas of organisational culture, training, competence development and error management. ‘Managing Processes’ is focused on improving organisation effectiveness and covers managing knowledge at an organisational level, problem solving and using practical process modelling and design techniques to inform practical solutions to effecting change and improvement.
There are three categories of delivery method on this course: Classroom Learning (CL), Webinar (Web), and Self-directed study (Self). There are three assessment methods on this course: a traditional written exam which will involve multiple choice questions and a single discursive question per topic, a continuous assessment exercise in the ‘Managing yourself’ stream, and the production of a Dossier or project report. The exercise is assessing the student’s practical skills in the first course they follow to alleviate any unnecessary anxiety about exams experience by any students who have not been in a learning setting for quite a while. The dossier would be prepared on a topic of interest to the student and should be based on an issue relevant to their work area.
Keywords: Lifelong learning, unemployed, labour initiative, flexible learning, management skills, rekilling, upskilling.