Enhancing Employability through Professional Experience and Personal Development Planning (PDP)

Lisa Webb, Jacqui Speculand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Personal Development Planning (PDP) is ‘a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and / or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development’ (1)
PDP has been introduced across the UK Higher Education sector, but the methods of implementation are determined by individual institutions. At Coventry University’s School of Art and Design, we have introduced PDP to support reflective creative practice in the first and second years. We are now planning PDP for third year students.
In addition to PDP, second year Art, Design and Media (ADM) students at Coventry University are required to undertake a professional experience opportunity. These opportunities range from traditional industry internships to ‘live’, client-led projects and business startup. As the professional experience falls at the end of second year, evaluation and reflection can only take place at the start of the third year.
In addition to supporting students’ development as reflective practitioners, we propose using PDP to enable students to reflect on and share their experience and learning with other students and the faculty. Lessons learned from both the process of finding and arranging the professional experience, and from the experience itself should help to guide graduates through the process of finding their first graduate opportunity at the end of the final year.

The alignment of Professional Experience with PDP is an additional approach in the drive to increase the employability of Art, Design and Media (ADM) students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalThe International Journal of Learning
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Personal development planning
  • Professional experience
  • Placement
  • Internships
  • Reflective practice
  • Art, design and media education


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