Creating an employment ready graduate: stakeholder perspectives of internship programmes and their ability to enhance the graduate employability skills set

Edward Simpson, Gary Mulholland, Andrea Szymkowiak, Luis Calmeiro, Jason Turner

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Purpose: The aims of this research are to examine stakeholder perspectives of the use and usefulness of graduate attributes which are embedded into the curriculum of a UK university and to evaluate the potential of these graduate attributes to go beyond institutional pedagogy and enhance the employability skills set of graduates.
Design/methodology/approach: The research used a mixed method to elicit perspectives of a University’s graduate attributes, interviewing employers and surveying students using a self-assessment tool and convenience sampling approach.
Findings: The research found that there are key attributes for the success of University-led graduate attributes which include engagement from stakeholders with those attributes, commitment from teaching staff towards the development of identified attributes, appropriate time to align and embed attributes into the curriculum and with the needs of stakeholders and a framework which compliments institutional research and is properly resourced (Al-Mahood and Gruba, 2007). No one graduate attribute works in isolation, they have to be part of a measured and balanced model or framework to address the multi-faceted nature of graduate employability. The research reveals that work-based initiatives were the most valued by graduates and employers alike, which are arguably easier to teach as it is learning by doing as opposed to developing generic softer skills which are not valued highly by graduates in respect to employment. The findings support existing research that graduates value graduate attributes which involve work based learning activities as a means to gain employability skills and employment.
Practical and social implications: The research findings should provide Universities and Colleges from both within and out with the UK with a blueprint from which to create or refresh existing University led graduate attributes.
Originality/value: The findings from this paper consolidate existing research in the area of graduate employability and take research forward in the areas of graduate attributes, the measurement of these attributes and their currency in terms of employability and employer synergy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
EventTaylor's 10th Teaching and Learning Conference: The Future Ready Graduate: Redesigning Higher Education For Greater Impact - Taylor's University - Lakeside Campus, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Duration: 30 Sep 20171 Oct 2017
Conference number: 10


ConferenceTaylor's 10th Teaching and Learning Conference
Abbreviated titleTTLC 2017
CityPetaling Jaya


  • Self-assesment tool
  • Graduate attributes
  • Employability


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