Academic & Student Affairs

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 has been holding a series of discussions 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 Policy, which has been incorporated in the Education Strategy, 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.  The full policy can be accessed in Queen's Online .

 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.  University processes such as Annual Programme Review and the Educational Enhancement Process may provide impetus for such action.


 6.  Queen's resources

7.  Contacts for further support

Linda Ryles:  (028 9097 1343)

Eimear Gallagher: (028 9097 1300)