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Development of students’ commercial awareness within the curriculum of professionally accredited courses : A case study of property courses

Poon, J and Brownlow, M 2015, 'Development of students’ commercial awareness within the curriculum of professionally accredited courses : A case study of property courses' , Education and Training, 57 (4) , pp. 405-428.

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the development of students’ commercial awareness within the curriculum of professional accredited courses. The targeted area of study is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited property courses. This paper also discusses how the curriculum of RICS-accredited courses can be designed to successfully incorporate commercial awareness within them and suitable delivery methods for developing this within the curriculum. Commercial awareness is one of the most important employability skills, however, employers have expressed dissatisfaction with graduates’ performance in this area. Design/methodology/approach: This paper presents the research findings of two sets of questionnaire surveys, as well as interviews and e-mail discussions with the course directors and current students of the RICS-accredited property courses in the UK. Descriptive analysis was used to analyse the questionnaire data. Fisher’s exact test was used to identify the statistical significance between academics’ and students’ views on the development of students’ commercial awareness as part of the RICS-accredited property courses’ curriculum. Content analysis was used to analyse the texts in the questionnaire survey, interviews and e-mail discussions. Findings: Academics and students involved with the UK RICS-accredited property courses agreed that commercial awareness is an important employability skill in the property sector and they mostly agreed on the definitions of commercial awareness, except in their “understanding of the wider business environment”. They also agreed that commercial awareness has three components: strategic, financial and process. Academics and students agreed that the commercial awareness components and process sub-components are largely incorporated into the curriculum of RICS-accredited property courses but they have divergent opinions on the level of incorporation of strategic and financial sub-components. A suitable way to deliver commercial awareness in RICS-accredited property courses is to incorporate it into the overall curriculum, ensuring that the components of commercial awareness are closely linked to the RICS APC and match relevant competency levels. They also commented that including practical experience in the curriculum is the most useful way to develop a student’s commercial awareness. Originality/value: This paper is the first to discuss the development of commercial awareness in professional accredited courses such as RICS-accredited property courses and also identifies suitable methods to enhance students’ commercial awareness as part of the curriculum. The research findings can also be applied to other professional accredited courses that have a strong vocational focus, such as nursing, engineering and accountancy. These courses are usually accredited by relevant professional organisations and students studying these courses usually plan to embark on a career in a relevant profession. The design of the course curriculum has a strong focus on equipping students with the essential competencies to develop their careers within the relevant field.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Journal or Publication Title: Education and Training
Publisher: Emerald Insight
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0040-0912
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr J Poon
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2015 15:55
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2016 19:29

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