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Author: Alison Fox

Extending your learning with postgraduate skills

Updated Tuesday, 14 December 2021
What more is there to learn than the content of your module? Postgraduate skills!

Screenshot from YouTube video 'What is Employability?'

What is an Applied Masters? Why study one?

On these kinds of Masters (such as the F70 and F55 qualifications), what you learn can be applied to practice. In the case of the F70 and F55 qualifications, this could be to settings where people support children and young people, such as through youth work or charity activities, through educational provision, or to related policy contexts. The benefits might be changes in thinking which can then drive changes in practice. This could be your practice if you work in one of these settings. It could be the practice of others, if you share what you are learning with professionals and volunteers in these settings, either in conversation or through more formal dissemination of what you have come to know. What you share could be insights from something you have read, it could be from applying ways of thinking, to making sense of your experience of practice, or could be from undertaking small-scale research within the modules which help you generate new findings.

These are some of the things previous students have said they gained from studying their MA:

"This is my third Masters but, despite now having a young family, this is the one I have worked the hardest at and am getting the most out of. In particular, this is the only one which has really helped me gain the skills of analysis, evaluation, and criticality which allow me to present well-founded opinions." - Claire

"I hadn't studied for 30 years and didn't know whether I could write academically. I have had to work hard on this as am still very slow but now write something every day and can see how this is helping me at work, even with emails." - Sara

"Studying on the course has made a difference to the way I work with colleagues so that I am better able to support them. This has led me to take on a CPD whole-school role." - Vish

"The modules have given me the confidence to back up my opinions and voice them in school. I think I am more convincing. I hope gaining the full Masters will back this up on my CV and get me as far as interviews, by seeing me as appointable as a school leader." - Sara

"I have realised that you don't need to be in a particular position to show leadership and that I can strengthen my own leadership in my current role." - Lise

What is in it for me? An Applied Masters for Employability

Postgraduate skill development is relevant for those studying for personal interest, as well as for those seeking to progress in their career or consider a different career direction. Studying your Masters can offer personal, academic and professional development. Personal development planning (PDP) resources are embedded in your qualification, supported by peer PDP coaches, to help you to maximise what you can get from your studies. There is also advice about using e-Portfolio tools to capture what you are learning. Our Masters programme has been mapped against the Open University’s Employability Framework (summarised in the elements noted in the image above and short video) to ensure that you have opportunities to gain skills that are of wider use to you beyond the MA. The process of PDP can help you manage your goals, reflect on your learning and skill development and prepare to share with others what you have achieved.

If you are registered on our Masters programme, find out what three of our peer PDP coaches think employability means to them in their short videos.

The MA Education/Childhood and Youth staff-student coaching team has been developing ways for students to recognise this additional reflective dimension to their studies by offering open digital badges. These badges can be attached to a CV or listed on professional profiles, such as on LinkedIn. The three available on the Masters programme are:

Digital badges available on the Masters programme The PDP badge:
This can be gained at the end of the Masters journey during the multidisciplinary dissertation module E822, mapped against the elements of the Employability Framework

Digital badges available on the Masters programme Peer PDP coach badge: 
For students who engage in training and support of PDP on any of the Masters modules and have opportunities to participate in a range of related projects

Digital badges available on the Masters programme Peer PDP mentor badge: 
For students who have previously coached and, as well as supporting new coaches, also contribute to PDP material development


Please note: If you are registered on our Masters, you can find out from some of our peer PDP coaches what they think PDP is and what they can do for you by watching this short video. If you want support from a peer PDP coach or want to become a peer PDP coach, please contact us on:


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