Case study: My career – an integrated program of career development learning activities

Project leaders: Associate Professor Louise Lexis and Associate Professor Brianna Julien, School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment, La Trobe University

Project team: Dr Jason Brown, Dr Jarrod Church, Dr Caroline Taylor, Dr Jency Thomas, and Dr Chris Van Der Poel,

The My Career program comprises a series of modules that can be used to integrate career development learning (CDL) into existing higher education curriculum. Individual modules, or the entire program, could be incorporated into existing curriculum in a range of disciplines.

The program is thematically structured and developmentally scaffolded across three years of study and includes custom-designed learner centred modules, support resources, and learning portfolios (Fig. 1). The program is underpinned by Professor Ruth Bridgstock’s Connectedness Learning Model [1]. First year comprises a foundational Introduction to careers and employability; 2nd Year extends to Researching your future career while 3rd Year focuses on the critical area of Building professional connectedness and articulation of employability strengths.


Each module is worth 10% of the subject grade, with assessment tasks comprised of the activities outlined in Figure 1 and related questions, and student reflections on these career development activities.

The objective of this project was to design and implement a course-wide employability program for a large generalist course.

Context: The Bachelor of Health sciences course is a large non-vocational degree with a pathway to a multiplicity of careers (over 30 pathways identified) including scientific research (via Honours, Masters and PhD degrees), allied health, medicine, teaching, and others that fall outside of science and health fields. Through course coordination and course advisor roles, it became evident to the project leaders that many students were unaware of the career options available to them, or alternatively, did not know how to turn their dream career into a reality. With over 1000 students enrolled in the course, a systematic and scalable approach to support student employability was required. A review of relevant literature showed that leading scholars were urging educators across the Australian higher education sector to integrate CDL across degree programs that focuses on career management skill development [2]. To fully engage with the graduate employability agenda, CDL should be introduced early in university programs, and should comprise mandatory and assessable components [2]. In response, the project leaders joined forces with career services staff to design and implement the program.

Outcomes: Since commencement in 2017, the program has been taught to over 3000 students. A large majority of students agree that the program helped them to gain knowledge and develop skills that will be useful in the future. Students learn how to develop a career plan, improve their understanding of the transferable skills and personal attributes that employers seek in graduates, the state of the industry in which they wish to enter, and what a professional does in their career of interest.

This work has received recognition via national and international adoption, publications [3] [4-6], institutional teaching awards, an Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) citation for outstanding contributions to student learning, and as a finalist in the Australian Financial Review Awards in the Employability category.


Student and facilitator guides for each of the modules are available here.

Beginning My Career Journey

Social Media and My Career

Career Research

Informational Interviews

Building My Connectedness Capabilities

Articulation of Employability Strengths

  • Me in a Minute
  • Personal Statement
  • Job Interviews


  1. Bridgstock, R., Graduate Employability 2.0 Enhancing the connectedness of learners, programs and higher education institutions. 2020.
  2. Bridgstock, R., The graduate attributes we’ve overlooked: Enhancing graduate employability through career management skills. Higher Education Research & Development, 2009. 28(1): p. 31-44.
  3. Brown, J.L., et al., Connectedness Learning in the Life Sciences: LinkedIn as an assessment task for employability and career exploration, in Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability. A Connectedness Learning Approach, R. Bridgstock and N. Tippett, Editors. 2019, Edward Elgar Publishing: UK. p. 100-119.
  4. Julien, B.L., J.E. Church, and L. Lexis, A career research module promotes career exploration and understanding of the labour market and transferable skills. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 2023. 14(1).
  5. Lexis, L., D. Weaver, and B.L. Julien, STEM students see the value of Linkedin as a career development tool and continue to use it in the long-term post-assignment. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 2023. 14(1): p. 53-70.
  6. Lexis, L., et al., Informational interviews help undergraduate students at the mid-point of non-vocational STEM degrees confirm their career aspirations. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 2021. 12(2): p. 299-315.