Beyond learning in higher education: an evaluation of the ‘Life Design’ initiative to improve student employability

Williams, Kate E. and Hutchings, Paul B. and Phelps, Ceri (2021) Beyond learning in higher education: an evaluation of the ‘Life Design’ initiative to improve student employability. Studies in Higher Education. ISSN 1470-174X

Williams, K. Beyond learning in higher education, Feb 2021.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License CC-BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


With increasing evidence highlighting the link between psychological factors such as self-esteem, self-efficacy and optimism on employability outcomes, this paper reports an evaluation of a unique student experience initiative called ‘Life Design’ developed to support the professional and personal development of undergraduate students. First year undergraduates engaged in a two-hour workshop involving interactive exercises designed to foster self-reflection, self-efficacy, and career optimism. The impact of this workshop on validated self-report measures of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and optimism, alongside careerrelated outcomes was explored using a prospective longitudinal design. Analyses revealed a significant immediate and sustained increase in self-esteem following Life Design, but no impact on self-efficacy or career optimism. Certainty of career developing steps increased at a later follow up, but no changes to career prospect confidence or career choice certainty were reported. This paper highlights the benefits and wider challenges of delivering and engaging students in initiatives designed to enhance employability

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper has an 18 month embargo on it from 21st January 2021 - 20st July 2022 in accordance with publisher's copyright agreement
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Dr Paul B Hutchings
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 15:36
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2023 12:54

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only