The Associate Degree in Fashion and Textile Merchandising is one of many university programs that have numerous career options available to students, but it is likely that students may not be aware of all of these opportunities in the field. Developing self-efficacy in career decisions requires students to have such information available to them.
This program has significant industry engagement and authentic assessments, but very little career development learning outside of career discussions with guest presenters. It is anticipated that the ‘Fashion Career Exploration Matrix’ is an activity or assessment suited to a first year or introductory course.
The activity requires students to work in small groups (or individually) using the internet and other careers resources (course materials, job advertisements, guest speakers) to research career options in the fashion industry and identify the experience, education, skills, attributes, salary range, and job titles required to enter the industry and then successful progress to more senior roles.
Groups would then present this information in a spread sheet style format using the career paths suggested in the program guide as the horizontal headings, and then the various roles under each heading arranged in descending order from senior level opportunities to entry level/graduate positions. The resulting matrix would be a ‘career ladder’ for each opportunity in the field of Fashion.
This activity was presented to the Fashion Program team meeting in November along with a number of other CDL recommendations for implementation in 2018. As well as the primary aims of increasing student’s awareness about career options, and increasing their career self-efficacy the other benefits include:
- Working as a team
- Enhancing information and digital literacy skills
- Presentation skills in using spread sheets
- Critical thinking and negotiation to assign each job listing in the matrix
- Shifting responsibility of learning from the academic to the students
A number of other programs with a wide range of career outcomes could tailor this activity to suit their needs.
Outside of the common challenges of teamwork in a university setting there are a some other limitations. It is important that the academic can provide sufficient information for the students on how to conduct a job search or locate careers information. The other challenge is that the careers discovered may not seamlessly fit into a matrix due to the nonlinear nature of careers.