Over the last decade there has been a plethora of articles, papers and reports which suggest that the higher education sector should embed key employability skills into the ‘heart’ of a students’ learning and teaching experience. They have come from Government, from Professional Bodies and from wider industry. Coupled with the new student fee regime in England (creating higher student expectation) and the accelerated competition for graduate-level jobs, there has never been a more urgent need to develop effective approaches and strategies to support the enhancement of employability attributes and skills.
Students do experience difficulties in identifying and articulating their skills. However, with the increase in number of students graduating, employers are inundated with similar examples of graduates expressing skills through their academic experiences. Only applications which specifically address what each recruiter is looking for and show employability skills being cultivated and demonstrated from a range of activities (curricular and extra-curricular) will have the optimum chance of being successful.
Reports examining graduate employment issues also suggest that employers consider it the responsibility of educational institutions to develop such skills. Therefore, taking this into account, undergraduate programmes and all the teaching staff involved with them need to think about their approach to skills development, delivery and assessment, and ensure a well-defined focus is maintained.