Resources for School and Faculty staff aiming to improve the employability of their students Resources for School and Faculty staff aiming to improve the employability of their students

Employability requires a rich curriculum that develops students ability to interrogate real problems, developing a range of skills in addition to knowledge gained from their subject disciplines. It also requires students to participate in the wider university experience and to be able to articulate and present their progress.

This guide is intended as a practical resource for School and Faculty staff aiming to improve the employability of their students. With reference to the Corporate Plan 2012-16 it identifies activities that Schools of Study, the Careers Service (formerly Careers and Employability) and students themselves can undertake.

The guide is divided into three main sections to reflect this shared responsibility:

UEA Employability Implementation

UEA Employability Implementation (PDF updated November 2011).  Prepared on behalf of the UEA Employability Working Group this document gives practical recommendations to address employability at School and institutional level.

Employability development at UEA diagram (PDF) indicating the different elements of employability at UEA that students need to interact with.

What is employability?

Whilst several definitions of graduate employability exist, for the purposes of this resource, the following is used:

"a set of skills, knowledge and personal attributes that make an individual more likely to secure and be successful in their chosen occupation(s) to the benefit of themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy"

(Yorke 2006: p.23)

Employability may be viewed as a combination of three main sets of attributes [1]:

  1. Employment relevant skills including transferable skills such as oral and written communication; numeracy; information technology; problem solving; the ability to be an effective member of a team and the ability to evaluate data, facts and opinions critically.
  2. Experience of a working environment gained through paid work, voluntary work, work placements or projects and provides opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of the workplace, their employment related skills and their confidence.
  3. Career management abilities including self-awareness; decision making; ability to exploit opportunities; ability to reflect on personal skills and values; self-marketing on paper and in person; market awareness.

Traditionally at UEA attributes in (1) above have been addressed mainly through the academic curriculum and related activities; attributes (2) and (3) have been the responsibility of individual students to develop, aided by the Careers Service.

[1] The terms ‘skills' and ‘abilities' are used interchangeably throughout to denote elements of the main employability attributes.

Yorke, M. (2006) Employability in Higher Education – what it is – what it is not. Learning and Employability Series 1. York: The Higher Education Academy. Also available to download as a PDF.