Thursday, 17 May 2012

Employability skills development: strategy, evaluation and impact

an article by Georgina Andrews and Marilyn Russell (Southampton Solent University) published in Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning Volume 2 Issue 1 (2012)


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.
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.
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.

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