Guest Blog: Oceans Research – Why is Being Employable so Important?

You’ve got the degree, you’ve got the passion, but is it enough to land that job you want? Are you employable? Oceans Research has written a really useful blog to help you understand what this means and how you can actually demonstrate your employability.

These days, it is simply not enough to get your degree and think you will walk straight into a job after university. What recruiters really look at, is how employable you are.

But what does being ‘employable’ mean?

Employers will obviously take your degree into account, but what they will be really interested in, is how work-ready you are.

This means, you’ll need to be able to show them that you have job specific skills, as well as all the qualities expected of a graduate. The marine employment market is very competitive. To gain an advantage in this field, you will need to have clear employability traits, to show off to perspective employers.

The reason employers look for this, is because they don’t just want to know that you understand the theory of the job. They want to see that you have achieved the skills, understanding and personal attributes that will make you successful in the role. This goes on not only to benefit their workforce, but also the community, and the economy.

Past Oceans Research intern, and current marine biologist and conservationist, Melissa Cristina Márquez, really boosted her employability status through her experience with us The Oceans Research field course program not only paved the way for me to complete my undergraduate degree thesis, but was seen favourably by graduate schools that were impressed by the variety of skills I learned while in South Africa. I still use the majority of the skills I learned at Oceans Research today in my PhD, and other marine biology work.”

The CareerEDGE Model

In 2007, Lorraine Dacre Pool and Peter Sewell from Centre for Employability, University of Central Lancashire, developed a practical model of graduate employability, called The “Key to Employability” model. They used the mnemonic CareerEDGE, to represent five equally important components of the model. Their aim was to create a framework for students, to develop their employability.

Career Development Learning: becoming more self-aware, and knowing what motivates you, what you most enjoy and are interested in, as well as what suits your personality. Also, the ability to present yourself effectively to prospective employers.
Experience: employers value those who have undertaken work experience, and can articulate and apply what they have learned. According to The Pedagogy for Employability Group (2004), graduates with work experience are more likely to secure employment than graduates without.
Degree: having achieved a degree, and gaining the knowledge, understanding & skills from your studies, as well as how successful you’ve been in achieving that degree, is still very important when looking at career opportunities. However, to be successful in your chosen career, the other CareerEDGE components are vital.
Generic Skills: these include (and are not limited to) – creativity, adaptability, willingness to learn, autonomy, ability to manage others, ability to work under pressure, good oral communication, communication in writing for varied purposes/audiences, numeracy, attention to detail, time management, assumption of responsibility and for making decisions, planning, coordinating and organising ability, and the ability to use new technologies. “…to represent the skills which can support study in any discipline, and which can potentially be transferred to a range of contexts, in higher education or the workplace” (Bennett et al., 1999, p. 76).
Emotional Intelligence: employers want to see that you can be self-motivated, as well as a good team player able to develop effective working relationships.

It’s very important to consider this model and its values, to gain your ‘employable’ status.

How does Oceans Research help?

Our Marine Field Course Program, has been developed to not only give you exposure to a wide variety of marine research projects, but to make sure you gain insights from this hands-on work, that you can apply in your future careers.

2014 intern, Laney Hixson, knows how valuable hands-on experience is “Oceans Research helped jump-start my career as a research scientist. This internship deepened my scientific understanding and expanded my scientific skill set, specifically in data collection and analysis. My experience at Oceans Research provided me with the assurance and confidence to continue pursuing my undergraduate degree in science. Since my time at Oceans Research, I’ve graduated with honors and completed a master’s in animal behavior and welfare. Currently, I’m working on a dual-degree, in which I will obtain a PhD in animal physiology and a Juris Doctor in environmental law. As a lawyer, I plan to use my scientific background to positively influence policy and legislation relating to animals and the environment. I can truly say that I would not be where I am today without Oceans Research, as my experience as an intern served as the catalyst of my successes.”

You work alongside our leading scientists and conservationists to take part in our practical field research. Our projects are conducted both at sea, and on land, with species ranging from mega-fauna such as sharks, whales and dolphins, to intertidal organisms and aquarium residents.

“The staff are absolutely amazing and they provided me with so much knowledge and a myriad of skills that will be unbelievably valuable in my future endeavors as I work toward a career in marine science.”
Bailey Ulrich, 2019 intern.

What skills will you gain?

“The aim of our field course program is to allow our interns to reach their goals, and empower them to follow their dreams, as I wish I could have had when I was a 20’ish year old.”
Oceans Research director of research, Dr Enrico Gennari.

We know that many marine field employers will be looking at your ability to work with data. Data collection and management is a vital aspect of our species population and community assessments, and enables you to play your part in feeding into issues in marine conservation, since the data is used to advise various industries, including the government. You will also take part in physiology and behavioural studies of some of the marine inhabitants in our bay.

You will develop the techniques for ethical and responsible fishing, using our researched applied methods for correctly catching and handling sharks for tag and release. The data collected during these projects is highly important, and used to monitor vulnerable shark populations.

Technology plays a huge role in most marine related fields. We teach you how to use emerging technologies, such as BRUV (Baited Remote Underwater Video), ROV (Remote Operated Vehicles) and drones.

An important skill many of you will go on to require in the future is seamanship on a research vessel, and you’ll learn both the theoretical and practical aspects of this. We know how important it is that you are able to gain experience in maintenance of research vessels and scientific equipment, so this is something you will get involved in on occasion. We also involve our interns in informative workshops and courses.

One of the biggest take-homes that all of our interns walk away with, is knowing which aspects of our various projects, that they enjoyed the most. This paves the way for choosing a career path, when looking at employment opportunities.

Last, and definitely not least, are the relationships our interns gain during their time with us. They acquire essential knowledge in how to work efficiently as a research team, and the self-awareness to understand their strengths in the field. Most develop bonds and friendships that last a lifetime.

Ensuring our interns walk away with essential life and work skills and experiences is really important to our team.

Here is what some of our other past interns have to say about their time with us:

2019 intern, Kristina Betz “I went into this internship not knowing what to expect, I wasn’t sure about my degree or my future. This internship gave me solid proof that this is the field I need to be in. It’s helped me become a stronger scientist, more confident in both myself and my own research.”

2019 intern, Becky Heidt “I learned so much about myself and the amazing marine life I was able to study while I was there. The skills you gain from this experience are priceless and I couldn’t imagine how my life would be now if I hadn’t done this internship! The staff and field specialists were so amazing, supportive, and push you to be the absolute best you can be!”

2019 intern, Parker Brassard “Best experience of my life! Learned so much to further my education back in the USA and would love to come back eventually. All field specialists and staff were very experienced and knew exactly what they were doing, and how to teach all the interns.”

2012 intern, Marie A. Taylor “My experience with Oceans Research was one of the best of my life! Not only was I immersed in fascinating research every day, but I made some lifelong friends along the way. I felt that I had a very well rounded experience. In addition, a class through Oceans Research was where I was introduced to the applications of GIS, which I am now getting a Master’s degree in!”

2019 intern, Kristin Jones “My time interning at Oceans Research was the best month of my life, and I learned more than I thought I would. I developed important skills for my future career and met so many knowledgeable and skilled people.”

2019 intern, Reina Alexander “The most amazing month I’ve ever had!! I learned so much every single day, and I came home with such motivation and inspiration.”

To read the rest of our intern reviews, and see what we’ve been getting up to, check out our Facebook page:

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236033421_Dacre_Pool_L_and_Sewell_P_2007_The_key_to_employability_developing_a_practical_model_of_graduate_employability_EducationthTraining_Vol_49_No_4_pp_277-89

Written by Esther Jacobs, October 30, 2019 and originally posted here

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