Employability Initiative @ EdinburghEmployability Initiative @ Edinburgh
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What is employability?


Employability can be defined as:

a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy

Professor Mantz Yorke (2004) 'Employability in Higher Education: what it is - what it is not', Higher Education Academy/ESECT


Employability is not the same as gaining a graduate job, rather it implies something about the capacity of the graduate to function in a job and be able to move between jobs, thus remaining employable throughout their life.

The USEM model (Knight and Yorke, 2004) outlines employability as four broad and inter-related components:


Want to read more?

For an excellent introduction to employability written for academic staff see the briefing: Employability in higher education: what it is – what it is not (M. Yorke, HE Academy/ESECT, Learning & Employability Series).



How is employability being addressed at Edinburgh?

The University responded to the drive to enhance employability across the HE sector by successfully bidding for strategic funding from the Scottish Funding Council. Building on and continuing this, through the University's Employability Initiative, the following have been established:

The Employability Initiative is…

Aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan

One of the four aims in the University’s mission statement is to ‘produce graduates fully equipped to achieve the highest personal and professional standards ’.

The Strategic Plan for 2012-2016 references student employability and graduate attributes throughout, in particular:

Linked to the Learning and Teaching Strategies for each College

Employability is mentioned either implicitly or explicitly in the Learning and Teaching Strategies for each of the Colleges. Good learning, teaching and assessment practices foster attributes valued in the labour market and contribute to student employability.


Want to read more?


Desirable outcomes for the Employability Initiative:

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