‘Resilience’ is something of a hot topic, but remains a rather nebulous concept. A brief literature search reveals much in the way of blog posts and journalistic pieces, but little concrete academic research or validated ways of addressing the perceived problems. Moreover, what literature there is emerges predominantly from a mental health and wellbeing perspective. This project aimed to make a necessary and original contribution to research by focusing on the resilience of higher education students in a career context, thereby offering insights with potential wider applicability. The impetus for this project emerges from several key factors:
This project, 'Growing through failure: enhancing students’ career resilience’, aims to:
Walker et al (2006) have demonstrated that it is both possible and desirable to design learning experiences that foster resilience. Workshops could be based on a number of different strategies (informed, for example, by narrative-constructivist theory, cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational or solution-focused approaches, and by the work of Bimrose and Hearne (2012) on career adaptability). The initial research was therefore designed to gain a fuller understanding of the problem in order to develop and evaluate appropriate interventions.
Within the project, interventions took the form of discrete workshops in order to better isolate and assess their impact and effectiveness through questionnaire and interview, but the project outcomes also include recommendations for tools and strategies that could inform pre-existing interactions with students, whether career guidance interviews, teaching, or personal tutor sessions.
The final stage of the project assesses and reflects upon the workshops, in order to make recommendations to those working with students throughout higher education who have an interest in developing students’ ability to respond to failure or setbacks.
The project methodology involved the following:
The project outputs include: