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Innovative Case Study

Developing employability from first year - Career Focus Module

Associate Professor Jessica Vanderlelie, Health Academic Lead Employability
Mr Troy Dobinson, Manager, Careers and Employment Services


The Careers and Employment Service in collaboration with Griffith Health created an online careers development module that has been embedded in the first year of programs across the Faculty. The purpose of this module is to support students to develop their understanding of potential professions, build capacity to make informed career decisions and plan curricular and cocurricular experiences that will build key skills relevant to their profession.


Students from the Health disciplines often have very clear ideas about the path they wish their careers to take, though frequently lack depth in their understanding of the realities of their chosen profession or the key skills required for success in the field. This is felt more acutely in the non-professions based (generic) programs that have broad career opportunities available for students.

For students from generic programs engagement in extra and co-curricular activities can make a real difference in support graduate transitions. Despite the importance of these activities students often fail to plan adequately to facilitate deep engagement in a broad range of cocurricular experiences. It is thus vital for students to commence their career journey and develop their professional identity from the first trimester of studies.

Across the Faculty of Health a significant amount of work was taking place in the curriculum to support students to develop their professional competencies. A number of disciplines share courses across programs, however, depending on the structure of the program students were experiencing great variation in their exposure to and understanding of career planning and awareness of the realities of their chosen profession.

In an attempt to support students to better plan their experiences across the student lifecycle to develop key skills required for success in their chosen profession, the Health Group committed to supporting the embedding of an online learning activity in the first year of the undergraduate suite of programs. It was a key priority that we drew upon existing resources and that the module was tailored to each of the professional disciplines, with a flexible assessment structure.


A collaboration was forged between Griffith Health (academics, curriculum consultant, blended learning advisors) and the Careers and Employment Service, to place employability on the agenda of students from the first year of their studies. This was achieved through the implementation of a redesigned Careers Focus Module tailored to each discipline and embedded across the faculty.

The Careers Focus Module is integrated into the Learning@Griffith course site for key subjects across the first year of Health programs. The module is designed from the foundation of the SOAR model (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results) and contains an overview of the career options available from the degree program and a series embedded industry videos from alumni and employers that help students unpack the profession and offer guidance about the key skills and experiences that will support students in their professional lives.

Learning activities within the module are designed to explain key concepts in career management, and students are asked to reflect upon their career aspirations and to develop strategies to achieve these goals (such as volunteering or clinical placements). From the activities and reflections within the module, students are able to develop a career plan that includes their career goal and tangible activities they will undertake across their time at university to support their success. This plan is then submitted in one of three assessment forms (chosen by the convenor) worth 10% for the course

  • Short video (2 minutes)
  • Poster
  • Written career plan

Academics are provided with an overview of the assessment task, marking rubric for all three assessment forms and decide upon the most appropriate assessment modality for their cohort. Students first encounter the Career Summary that is embedded within the Careers Focus Module at Open Day with academics highlighting the multiple pathways that students can pursue as part of the degree. Students then are introduced to the module during their first trimester of studies.


The Careers Focus Module was piloted across 15 programs within the Health Group in 2017. It is the intention of Griffith Health to embed this across the majority of Health programs in 2018. Through embedding the Careers Focus Module into assessment, it is highlighted to students that career management is a critical component of their development. It also provides students with the forum to receive feedback regarding their career plans and to discover multiple career pathways. By allowing time within first year for students to understand the rapidly changing graduate labour market, students have the opportunity to reflect upon who they are and what the can do, the module allows a strong appreciation for employability concepts in the future.


Contributed by

  • IRU: Griffith University
    Assoc Professor Jessica Vanderlelie
  • IRU: Griffith University
    Mr Troy Dobinson


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Preferred Citation

Vanderlelie, J. & Dobinson, T. (2018). Developing employability from first year - Career Focus Module. Retrieved from https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/exlnt/entry/7228/view