Personal Skills Development in the Accounting Curriculum

This included lectures from the Placement Director on the role of the placement within the respective degrees, together with the requirements for the completion of the relevant placement documentation. A Placement Away Day was also organized with advice on C.V. and interview preparation, and at which employers and post-placement students provided feedback on their experiences. Finally each student had a one-to-one interview with a member of the placement unit to discuss is/her career aspirations. Current placement student views Once analysis of the BASIC questionnaire had taken place, one-to-one discussions with selected students followed up on some of the ideas generated. Five students who were currently out on placement were interviewed.

The purpose of these interviews was to address some of the issues, which arose from the BASIC questionnaire and to seek the students’ views on what they believed would improve their work performance and subsequent employability. Current Year 3 Undergraduate placement students were interviewed s the authors were of the view that they would easily recall their feelings of six months earlier when they commenced employment. They should therefore have opinions as to the skills they needed at that time but which perhaps they did not the authors to be particularly demanding and challenging. The interviews took place on a one-to-one basis in the course of routine placement visits. Each student was asked the same set of questions although the interviews were informal and discussion was encouraged. 70 Table 2.

Programmer level learning outcomes Specie action of the set of knowledge and understanding to be acquired in a particular programmer at each level Key transferable Communication process skills that and presentation students are skills expected to develop Higher-cognitive Application (use skills that of knowledge and students are understanding in expected to actual situations) develop Knowledge and understanding that the students are expected to develop Knowledge (description of facts; criteria; De notions; classic action; data organizations; principles and theories) Innumeracy and IT skills Understanding (preparation and demonstration of understanding of knowledge) Learning skills Interactive and group skills

Analysis (breaking down complex situations into component parts) Synthesis (combining elements to form new, coherent systems) Evaluation and problem solving (forming value Judgments based on clear criteria and formulating solutions to actual problem situations) Subject-specie c skills that students are expected to develop Specie action of the subject/ discipline related skills that students are expected to develop over the course of the programmer of their studies The initial discussions focused on the 13 skill areas examined in the questionnaire in an attempt to identify where the current preparation programmer is strong and here it is weak. All eve students mentioned interview skills, career planning, oral communication skills and business writing as areas in which they would have been Ted from more assistance prior to entering the work environment. In discussions as to how these skills may be taught, the students favored interactive sessions in addition to lectures and this was reinforced by the fact that they had little memory of their own pre-placement preparation which consisted of two one-hour lectures. Them more information about what employers were looking for and what to expect once in the work environment.

All the students agreed that they had not been fully aware of the career options available to them prior to their placement year and they felt that more information about types of organization and career options would be useful to students in the future. Finally, the 71 students were asked how long they had been working before they considered themselves more of a help than a hindrance to their employer. The responses ranged from three to six months, which is in line with the research undertaken in the AGAR (1995) Report. Although a light-hearted question, the guidelines provided by the dents can be used as a benchmark against which future course developments can be evaluated. The way forward The evidence from the above research provided a balanced view from a number of stakeholders.

It appeared that the Business School was not doing enough to prepare students for their rest work experience. It suggested that a dedicated module in this area was the most appropriate way to facilitate student development. There was a strong view that, for the module to be seen as integral to the overall degree, it should form part of the curriculum, be formally assessed and receive the appropriate academic credit. The module entitled Business Enterprise Skills was therefore introduced as one of eight core subjects within the second year of the four-year Scottish degree programmer. This module therefore had to replace a module that was already offered as the maximum number of modules in any one year is restricted to eight.

After lengthy consideration it was decided to sacra CE the second year economics module as it was felt that one year of economics study was probably sub cent for accounting students. The paper will now outline how the development of the module proceeded. Initial development concentrated on an analysis of the Level Learning Outcomes, which are one level down from the Programmer Level Learning Outcomes contained for the Accounting and Finance course in Table 2. The purpose of this was to identify exactly what the degree was attempting to achieve. The next phase was to locate where in the course these outcomes were being achieved. Subsequent to this it was clear to the development team what skills were not being fully addressed and where gaps were evident.

Thus, the creation of the Business Enterprise Skills module had a clear vision at the outset of exactly the issues it was attempting to resolve. Thirteen themes were identity deed and are listed below and in Table 1 . A number of studies (Defer, 1997; Nab and Begley, 1998; CASES, 1997) have attempted to classify skills into certain categories. The attribution of labels to a group of skills did not seem particularly relevant in this context, and no weighting was given to each to suggest a hierarchy of importance. c c c c c c c c c c c C.V. writing interview skills Job search skills time management writing in business practical research skills presentation skills team working using IT in business career planning oral communication skills