Employability and Skills
1. Why is this important?
Queen's University Belfast is strongly committed to ensuring that "graduate attributes are developed through the curriculum and co-curricular activities enabling students to fulfil their role as students of a modern day society and achieve graduate employability both nationally and globally" (Education Strategy 2011-2016).
2. Perspectives on the Graduate Employability debate
The University routinely engages with public representatives, employers, students, representatives from the Schools sector, the CBI and Invest NI regarding student employability.
3. The Student Employability and Skills Framework
The University's Employability and Skills framework promotes an integrated approach to skills development that includes the embedding of developmental opportunities (linked to PDP) within programmes. It also promotes co-curricular employability enhancement activities, such as Degree Plus.
4. Striking a balance between Academic and Employability Agendas
The Higher Education Academy Pedagogy for Employability Group (2006) asserts that "there is no undue tension between a concern with good learning in a subject and an interest in promoting employability". However, in order to create and embed effective opportunities for students to develop and practise skills in the context of their Degree programme, subject benchmarks should be followed and what and how students learn and are assessed should be carefully planned and balanced. Consideration should be given to what is being assessed and how it is being assessed. if the development of of employability skills is a learning outcome, then students should be given the opportunity to demonstrate those skills in and through the chosen assessment strategies - Yorke and Knight refer to this as 'considerate assessment'.
5. Strategies for Developing Employability Enhancement Opportunities within the Curriculum
The process of infusing the curriculum with employability skills may take place incrementally at module level, or be part of a large scale review of a degree programme, perhaps as part of professional body accreditation. In addition to extra-curricular enhancement opportunities, the Careers Employability and Skills service at the University engages directly with Faculties and Schools on a twice yearly basis to agree in-curriculum and co-curriculum support that are tailored to degree programmes.
6. Queen's resources
Higher Education Academy - Employability ( which includes a range of useful resources)
- Personal Tutoring
Case Studies of Personal Tutoring Schemes (which include employability promotional links, particularly at Level 2)
Student Gateway (a directory of the central support available at Queen's)
- Yorke, M. and Knight, P. (2006) "Embedding Employability into the Curriculum" (pdf 373 KB)
- Higher Education Academy - Student Employability Profiles
7. Contacts for further support
For further infomation please email firstname.lastname@example.org