Exploring the impact of change on university Careers Services: death of a service or surviving and thriving?

Barbour, Katrina Louise (2016) Exploring the impact of change on university Careers Services: death of a service or surviving and thriving? Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This Dissertation takes the form of a case study exploring the position of university Careers Services working under a neo-liberal paradigm. The study was motivated by a wish to explore the changes that have taken place in university Careers Services since 1997 in order to understand the changed landscape, and to provide a snapshot of the current setting that might be of use to those considering entry to and those working in careers advisory work. Additionally the study was intended to inform my own professional practice and understanding. I consider the position of Careers Services through the commentary of eight University Careers Advisers from four institutions in Scotland. Through semi-structured interviews I explore their perceptions and views about their work and the environment in which they work. Specifically, changes to work in the areas of careers education, careers information and careers guidance are considered alongside changes to the concept of career, changes in graduate employer practices, and the students and graduates organisations seek to employ. The study highlights the challenges faced by the Careers Service in universities in Scotland and explores the experiences and views of the professionals that work in that Service against a backdrop of an employability agenda and increasingly instrumentalised expectations. Giroux’s (1993) notion of education as a vehicle for individual empowerment and Nussbaum’s (2011) Capabilities Approach provide the theoretical framework to support the analysis of the state of university Careers Services and to offer a defence of the importance of careers advisory and guidance work. My data confirms that the role of university Careers Services has changed significantly post- Dearing (1997) and that, increasingly, Services based in traditional research lead universities and those in newer institutions are differentiated. The changing landscape has allowed Careers work to flourish and gain a more prominent role in some institutions, raising the profile of those Services. However, some Careers Services, the study indicates, have struggled to carve out a niche for themselves and these Services risk becoming marginalised within their institutions. A Careers Service that contributes to its university’s graduate employability objectives may secure a strong institutional position but raise questions about its activity with respect to long held underlying assumptions about careers guidance work and the ethical purpose of the activity of the Careers Service. I conclude by anticipating possible futures for the university Careers Service with a call to maintain and strengthen the function of guidance and advisory work within these Services.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: University careers services, careers advisers.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Supervisor's Name: Hedge, Prof. Nicki
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Katrina Barbour
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7177
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2016 07:16
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2016 08:52
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7177

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