What are employability skills?
They have been defined as:
“A set of achievements, understandings and personal attributes that make individuals more likely to gain employment and to be successful in their chosen occupations.”
Peter Knight & Mantz Yorke (HEFCE/DfES ESECT group)
“Once your degree has unlocked the door, you’ll need the right mix of skills, abilities and personal qualities in order to turn the handle and give the door the push that will open it to you.”
Why are employability skills important?
A degree in itself is not enough.
You can’t rely on your degree alone to automatically open doors after you graduate. It will certainly unlock doors – in other words it will make you eligible to apply for jobs that specify “must be a graduate” and the subject or class of your degree may also be important to certain employers.
But however good your degree class, however relevant your subject to the career that you’ll be applying for, it is likely that you will be competing for this job with a number of other graduates who are equally well-qualified academically.
How do you assess your employability skills?
We have tried to help you assess your employability skills by providing an assessment app called: “You the Employee Brand”. This enables both self and peer assessment which can be recorded when you have created an account and logged into the HEAR-me portal on the Campus2Corporate website.
Generic employability skills
There are employability skills that are applicable to most jobs in both the private and public sector sectors as well as being the kind of skills you need to run your own enterprise or social enterprise. We refer to these as generic employability skills. The CBI defines these as:
“A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy.”
These generic employability skills include:
• Teamwork / team player – working confidently within a group
• Leadership – able to motivate and direct others
• Self-management – planning and organising – ability to plan activities and carry them through effectively
• Analysing and problem-solving – gathering information systematically to establish facts and principles
• Persuading – able to convince others, to discuss and reach agreement
• Commercial awareness – knowledge of business structures and processes
• Professionalism – an understanding of behaviours and attitudes that are expected of you in the workplace
• Written communication and literacy – communicating with impact, ability to express yourself
clearly in writing
• Verbal communication – expressing your ideas clearly and confidently in speech
• Numeracy – able to carry out arithmetic operations/understand and present data
• Flexibility – adapting successfully to changing situations and environments
• Computing skills – use of technology
Each of these generic employability skills can be broken down into sub-categories so that for example, verbal communication might be broken down into face-to-face communication, telephone communication, presentation skills etc.
Career specific employability skills
In addition to these generic skills your chosen career path will require certain technical skills and industry/sector knowledge.
HEAR-me is designed to help you identify which generic skills are key to your career success and which specific sub-categories of these are important to you in successfully navigating the move from university graduate to career professional.
You can develop your employability skills
When it comes to getting that placement or your first career role as a graduate, you need to make yourself stand out from the other candidates by developing and demonstrating your skills with actual examples of how you have used these skills in different situations.
Your university knows this so when they include one of the Campus2Corporate simulations within your curricular course work – or ask you whether you want to take part in a co-curricular activity like the Universities Business Challenge – they know that participation will enhance your employability skills and that you will be able to record this in your personal achievement record.
C2C provides a portfolio of employability resources that helps develop employability skills – whether included in curricular courses or co-curricular activities. This includes simulations specifically designed to develop employability skills such as the Business Enterprise Experience, the Business Management Experience, the Universities Business Challenge, the Project Management Experience and the Public Sector Experience.
To see the full portfolio, click here.
All of our simulations are mapped against the above employability skills to ensure that learning outcomes are mapped and matched. The resource portfolio also helps students develop the behavioural and inter-personal skills that employers are looking for when assessing candidates.
Why make a record of your employability skills?
So you can identify a story that shows an employer what makes you stand out in an interview or assessment centre. Keeping a record of your employability skills is a valuable thing to do because when it comes to applying for internships, placements and graduate schemes, you need to assess your strengths and you need to give examples of situations which helped develop them.
How to make a record of your employability skills
The HEAR-me on-line portal on the Campus2Corporate website provides an opportunity to assess and record how you or your students have developed new employability skills or enhanced existing skills, and how to apply what has been learned.