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On the move: tools to transition information skills

Inskip, C; Donaldson, S; (2017) On the move: tools to transition information skills. Presented at: SLA (Special Libraries Association) 2017, Phoenix, AZ, USA. (In press).

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Information literacy is a key life skill for students and graduates. However, there is growing awareness that the use of information literacy research in careers services, graduate recruitment, and workplaces could significantly enhance student experience and, particularly, employability (Wiley, 2014). Examining the disconnect between Higher Education and the professional world will help careers and related services to better prepare students for the path ahead. This project aims to foster engagement between stakeholders (librarians, careers staff, employers, job-hunters) and help library and careers staff in Higher Education to understand the information skills graduates need in their early careers. The session introduces a resource which will help students and support services more effectively design, develop and communicate transferable competencies. This collaborative work examines a UK-based insurance firm, the Financial and Insurance sector being in the top five of most common destination for University College London (UCL) graduates for the last nine years. The insights of careers services, integral to this project, enabled a new opportunity to develop a wider view of information literacy issues, which are currently strongly located within library silos. Research on workplace learning informed the project design and analysis, encouraging cross-fertilisation of ideas. The research took a phenomenographic approach, a popular methodology in information literacy research, which can lead to insights into differences between ways of thinking about a topic or concept. Rich and detailed qualitative data were gathered from an employer, employees and current UCL student job candidates in the financial services sector. The language around information use in the insurance profession was then analysed in order to investigate the employer, employee and candidate conceptions of information literacy in their work context. We focused on one workplace, a City insurance firm, in order to give deeper insights into this professional context. A comparison was made between employer, employee and candidate conceptions, using vocabularies and thematic patterns of description to determine the extent of disconnect between these stakeholders views. A pilot information skills translation e-resource/tool was then developed which will facilitate transferability of information skills from Higher Education into (initially) the insurance sector workplace. This tool draws from the research findings and provides guidance for users on how the information and digital literacies they develop during the course of their studies map to skills, competences and conceptions in their workplace setting (in this case, the Insurance sector). this guidance will support their resumée-writing, for example, and identify transferability of their information and digital literacies and has the potential of enhancing their employability in a highly competitive market. It will be open to all, under Creative Commons license, and not restricted to UCL students. This session presents the project and the tool, and attempts to develop and strengthen crossdisciplinary links and contribute to strategy development enabling transition of information literacies from Higher Education into employment. References: Wiley, M. (2014) A review of the literature on current practice in the development of employability skills, available online at http://www.sconul.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Employability%20Literature%20Review%20June%202014_0.pdf [accessed October 25th 2016]

Type: Conference item (Presentation)
Title: On the move: tools to transition information skills
Event: SLA (Special Libraries Association) 2017
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA
Dates: 16 June 2017 - 20 June 2017
Publisher version: https://www.sla.org/attend/sla-2017-annual-confere...
Keywords: information literacy, employability
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1556142
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