In this programme of work, we focus on enhancing the academic, personal and professional development of learners to meet the changing needs of employers, the economy and society.
A widely accepted definition of employability is
a set of achievements, - skills, understandings and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy (HEA, 2012, PDF).
More recently, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has developed its own framework of employability skills, while others have taken a more critical view of the limitations of a skills based approach. We welcome and facilitate dialogue regarding the conceptual development of employability, and commission a range of reports and publications which support an evidence based approach.
Our work is focused on helping institutions to develop their teaching and learning in ways which will enable graduates to meet the economic and social challenges of 21st century.
We work with practitioners and discipline communities to embed effective employability practice within the curriculum. There is a growing emphasis on the development of institutional level frameworks and, increasingly, we are working with managers and senior staff to develop strategic approaches to employability. We also support the graduate enterprise agenda.
Sign up to our mailing list to receive information about our forthcoming employability events and resources and if you would like to share practice with staff in other institutions, please sign up to our Employability Network.
We work with experts in the field to explore key issues through short, thought provoking articles, such as these four articles relating to employability, that provide an insight into current developments in practice.
HEA Employability Conference October 2013.
This popular and oversubscribed conference opened with a keynote address from Joe Marshall Chief Operating Officer NCUB on the role of the new National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) in supporting graduate employability by developing, promoting and supporting collaboration between universities and business. The new HEA publication Defining and developing your approach to employability: a framework for higher education institutions was also launched at this event. Delegates had the opportunity to take part in discussions and workshops on a number of themes. Details of these and access to publications and PowerPoint presentations from the event is available from the employability conference page.
Pedagogy for employability publication
This guide, produced by the HEA, constitutes a revised and updated version of the Pedagogy for employability publication first published in 2006. This original publication was produced under the auspices of the Higher Education Academy and the Enhancing Student Employability Co-ordination Team (ESECT), and formed part of the Learning and Employability Series, a set of publications offering guidance and information to staff in higher education institutions involved in the enhancement of student employability.
A workshop which gave participants the opportunity to explore the major findings - and their implications - of the recent publication of ‘Pedagogy for Employability revised edition 2012’ – and subsequent research and reports in particular Wilson Review. This was held at Birmingham City University on 12 June 2012.
Defining and developing your approach to employability: A framework for higher education institutions
This framework for employability has been developed following a summit delivered by the HEA and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). In developing and implementing effective employability strategies, the framework says, HEIs need to consider what their interpretation of employability is, how it can be translated into practice, how students and staff can be engaged, current practice, and how to monitor progress. The framework supports them in doing this.
The process consists of four stages: discussion and reflection; reviewing and mapping; action, and evaluation. As well as providing a summary of recent models and definitions relating to employability, the framework uses questions to promote discussion and arrive at shared decisions to develop a strategy.
Professional capabilities in non-vocational subject disciplines
This is a small-scale study within a single institution – Liverpool John Moores University - which explores the relationship between retail employers’ wish that graduates exercise professionally relevant capabilities and a sample of curricula in non-vocational subjects. Among other findings, evidence from the study suggests that HE and employers do not always share a commonality of understanding about the former’s efforts to develop graduates’ professional capabilities.
Measuring the impact of Pedagogy for employability (2012) on employability policy and practice in higher education institutes
Pedagogy for employability identifies some of the pedagogic principles relevant to employability development. Revised in 2011 to ensure that approaches outlined in the guide remained contemporary and that new advances were recognised, an impact study of this resource has been published. The study shows that the guide has had the greatest influence/impact upon staff awareness and understanding of employability development. It also shows that the guide is not only influencing the UK-based higher education sector, but is also helping to inform employability policy/practice overseas and in the further education sector.