Employability skills are essential personal qualities that make one fit for any workplace. These are also called ‘enterprise skills’, 'communication skills' or ‘workplace skills'.
Following are some of the essential employability skills:
- Good communication
- Ability to take initiatives
- Emotional control
Employability skills are built through participation in various group activities along with volunteering. Building employability skills are as important as projecting it to others. Hence, it is crucial to:
- Profile your employability skills
Preparing to build an eye-catching resume that rightly showcases your employability skills will help to highlight your skills in front of recruiters.
- Figure out your workplace skills
Your resume should be able to reflect skills according to the need of your domain and connected workplaces.
Now, how to evaluate the above-mentioned employability skills is the main area to focus upon. One of the major concerns in Higher Education is graduate employability.
Many studies conclude that skills such as enthusiasm, dependability, and team-working score higher than subject knowledge skills, whereas commercial awareness, negotiation, and networking have even lower priority.
Nowadays, employers expect students to develop employability skills so that they can make an immediate contribution to the workplace when recruited. The current scenario of increased demand on key skills indicates that the Higher Education curriculum should include opportunities to develop employability skills along with subject-specific skills and knowledge. This should aim to increase the potential for success in the recruitment process by producing ‘business-ready’ graduates. They should be able to make a dynamic start and rapidly adapt to the changes. Various strategies are adapted for this by offering work experience, work-related learning and employability skill modules, in addition to ‘ready for work’ events.
The evaluation of the employability skills is done by:
- Employability skill questionnaires
An employability skill questionnaire can be designed for employers, including a set of skills deriving from several sources. Skills have three divisions: personal qualities, core skills, and subject knowledge. Employers will prioritise the skills on a 3-point scale, where 1 = low; 2 = medium; 3 = high importance. Space for other skills is also included. This assessment is then converted to a point scale where 1 = poor, 2 = average, 3 = good. At the end of the questionnaire, there should be a space for a ‘free response’ comment on any matters relating to student employability.
- Employability skills profile
Profile documentation is done by formulating a skill-based inventory on the survey of employers through the questionnaire. This is also differentiated into the same three skills categories. The inventory was incorporated into the profile, together with student self-assessment of their skills using a 5-point scale. Where 1 = very poor, 2 = poor, 3 = average, 4 = good, 5 = excellent. Supporting evidence from curricular/extracurricular activities to claim proficiency in the skills and an action plan to improve the skills were also included. In this way, students could identify and build on their strengths, address their weaknesses and manage to update their skills. Also, space can be included for students to write their individual inventory, by reflecting on the techniques they had developed. Finally, students are given free space to comment on their career plans.
- Use of Support materials
A set of support materials that helps develop the profile is designed to assist students in understanding the meaning and significance of these skills. This helps in recognising links between skills and the curriculum, and in knowing how to make efforts to complete the profile.
- Various support materials are:
- Online Employability skills document
- Guidance notes on self-assessment and collecting evidence
- Sample profile entries
- Reflective questions for interviews
- External links to relevant employability sites
- Data analysis
For prioritisation of graduate skills, the overall mean values and standard deviation (SD) of the scores for each skill were determined and the overall mean scores for personal qualities, core skills, and subject knowledge at the different levels were compared using a one-way analysis of variance. If teachers implement these points in their education curriculum, with strong support from the administration and parents alike, students can surely develop these skills and to excel in their careers.