Selling the Dream: Are we Offering Employability or Making a Vocational Offer?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Curtin University


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communication and Arts




Callaghan, R. M. (2011). Selling the dream: Are we offering employability or making a vocational offer? . Paper presented at the Annual Teaching and Learning Forum. Edith Cown University. Available here


There are more than 20 journalism programs around Australia competing for students interested in studying the profession and learning its practices. While research suggests just a third of these students will end up working in the industry, studies also show many students are unhappy if they miss out on a journalistic job, believing it a natural progression from their undergraduate studies into journalism employment. This paper investigates the online information provided to potential journalism students at different Australian universities and private colleges and contrasts them with the message provided to students at Edith Cowan University. It finds that while some online handbooks effectively make a ‘vocational offer’, linking study with a career in the field, ECU does not. It argues increased candour is not, in fact, a disadvantage and could allow ECU to diversify its appeal to students beyond a small core of would-be journalists.

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