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Employability skills development: strategy, evaluation and impact

Employability skills development: strategy, evaluation and impact Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report how one University has sought to test the effectiveness of strategies to enhance employability skills, and the key themes which emerged from this investigation. Design/methodology/approach – A survey tool has been used to record staff perceptions of where employability skills are strongly developed and assessed in a sample of courses. The results have been triangulated against explicit statements/mapping in course documentation, and top level University strategies and policies. Key performance indicators have been reviewed, and focus groups have been conducted to appraise student perceptions. An external scan of selected comparator benchmark institutions has also been undertaken. Findings – Key emerging themes include issues surrounding the role of higher education; deficiencies in the classification of graduate destinations; the challenge of predicting the needs of employers of the future; and gaps between strategies, perceptions and realities. Research limitations/implications – A number of the outcomes of the audit are University specific. However, some of the key themes and issues that have emerged are relevant to the sector as a whole. This paper highlights these broader issues, whilst acknowledging that individual Universities will find their own unique responses to these challenges. Originality/value – This paper shares an approach to the critical evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies to enhance employability skills development, which may be of value to educational establishments wishing to review their own provision. The paper also draws attention to key issues relating to the enhancement of graduate employability. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning Emerald Publishing

Employability skills development: strategy, evaluation and impact

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2042-3896
DOI
10.1108/20423891211197721
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report how one University has sought to test the effectiveness of strategies to enhance employability skills, and the key themes which emerged from this investigation. Design/methodology/approach – A survey tool has been used to record staff perceptions of where employability skills are strongly developed and assessed in a sample of courses. The results have been triangulated against explicit statements/mapping in course documentation, and top level University strategies and policies. Key performance indicators have been reviewed, and focus groups have been conducted to appraise student perceptions. An external scan of selected comparator benchmark institutions has also been undertaken. Findings – Key emerging themes include issues surrounding the role of higher education; deficiencies in the classification of graduate destinations; the challenge of predicting the needs of employers of the future; and gaps between strategies, perceptions and realities. Research limitations/implications – A number of the outcomes of the audit are University specific. However, some of the key themes and issues that have emerged are relevant to the sector as a whole. This paper highlights these broader issues, whilst acknowledging that individual Universities will find their own unique responses to these challenges. Originality/value – This paper shares an approach to the critical evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies to enhance employability skills development, which may be of value to educational establishments wishing to review their own provision. The paper also draws attention to key issues relating to the enhancement of graduate employability.

Journal

Higher Education, Skills and Work-based LearningEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 17, 2012

Keywords: United Kingdom; Universities; Higher education; Graduates; Employability; Skills; Evaluation

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