Am I Ready for the Global Apparel Industry?: Student Perspectives on Employability after a Multinational Virtual Collaboration Project

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2016-11-09
Authors
Jacobs, Bertha
Karpova, Elena
Karpova, Elena
Andrew, Arnold
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Abstract

This study explored how undergraduate apparel students working in a virtual collaboration project define employability and perceive the skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics required by the globalized apparel industry, and reflected on the learning experience and participation in the project. Students (n = 119) enrolled in sourcing/merchandising courses at three universities located in the U.S., South Africa, and Australia, utilized Blackboard to complete three learning tasks. Students' guided reflections were used in the data analysis. Foremost, students believed a relevant tertiary qualification and related industry experience were essential to be employable in the apparel industry. Communication, time-management, problem-solving, and strategically thinking were viewed as the most critical skills to have. Relevant knowledge areas were identified as well. Through this project participants gained crucial skills such as to communicate on a “global scale†, effectively manage time, and virtual teamwork skills.

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