Should your Humanities degree make you ’employable’?

Just before the Christmas break, research students and staff from the School of Humanities staged a debate on a subject exercising everyone in the HE sector: employability. Rowan Middleton, a postgraduate student of English Literature and Creative Writing, reports.

Panellists Dr Will Large, Dr Martin Randall, Professor Melissa Raphael, Dr Arran Stibbe and Dr Debby Thacker each outlined their position on the topic ‘Should the Humanities embrace or resist the pressure to incorporate “employability” into its programmes?” before engaging in a lively debate. Some of the issues and questions raised are as follows.

  • The difficulty of defining ’employability’
  • A ‘wary handshake’ approach which combined ‘employability’ skills with a critical awareness of work.
  • A potential ‘backlash’ arising from the increased use of internships in the workplace.
  • The dangers involved in seeing people as ‘human capital’.
  • The need for humanities students to put more work into improving their CVs.
  • Are the arts ‘parasitic’ on society or a necessary part of society itself?
The debate could have continued, but we ran out of time – now is your chance to join the debate online by leaving a comment below…
Readers, what do you think?


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