The Increasing Importance of Employability Skills for University Graduates

Stephen Bayles


In my role as a Study Skills tutor, I embed employability skills (ES) such as critical thinking, report writing and written communication into each skills session.  This research poster focuses upon the growing importance of said skills for graduates. Such skills have been defined as personal attributes, understandings and skills that can allow graduates to attain positions in their chosen professions (Yorke, 1999).

The issue is a contemporary one; when taking office Jo Johnson, Minister of Universities and Sciences, stated that his priority is to ensure that students ‘get the teaching they deserve’ and ‘employers get graduates with the skills they need’ (The Guardian, 2015). Furthermore, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, when detailing aspects of the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework, stated that universities with ‘high-quality teaching’ will be allowed to raise tuition fees in line with inflation from 2017-18 (The Times, 2015). This reflects a larger trend in higher education (HE), with the European Commission inferring that HE institutions should have curriculums that contain relevant, contemporary information that is applicable in the labour market (European Commission, 2013).

As a consequence of my own practice of utilising ES and the increasing importance placed upon them throughout Europe, they were selected for investigation in this project.  

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