What do employers want? A study of three professional pathways


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The introduction of the Teaching Excellence Frameworks and Student Outcomes as a measure of the quality and value of University education within England has raised the significance of specific metrics in relation to the planning and delivery of higher education. A key metric is that of ‘graduate employment,’ which identifies higher education’s ability to generate work-ready employees as an over-arching concern. This reflects Governmental policy of linking the acquisition of a university degree to the UK’s future economic growth by highlighting how increased social mobility generally serves to provide both public and private benefit. Whilst descriptions of employability have shifted towards the concept of ‘graduate attributes’ across the University sector, defining, embedding and delivering employability continues to be difficult.

However, there are programmes that consistently deliver high levels of employability and opportunities for upwards social mobility, i.e. those leading directly into professions such as nursing, teaching and law. And yet, the literature shows that employability development across different professional programmes has not been investigated. Working within a University in the North West of England, the authors have started to investigate key employability skills and attributes across the health, legal and education professions as identified by significant stakeholders (employers) to identify how these are addressed through appropriate challenges incorporated into assignments, tasks and experiences within the associated degree programmes. The findings will highlight key areas of both commonality and difference. The project has the potential to impact upon the academic sector in identifying how and when skills and attributes can be realistically integrated into and developed within a university programme. It will also provide evidence to the private sector as to what exactly might be achieved, and what employers of graduates may need to address at the start of their employment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2018
Event5th International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training. - BEIS Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 20186 Jul 2018


Conference5th International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training.
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Employment


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