What IS Employability?
We draw upon a relevant set of definitions from the Australian initiative, Developing EmployABILITY:
- Employability is the ability to find, create and sustain work and learning across lengthening working lives and multiple work settings.
- Employability development is the process of teaching students to think. It involves the cognitive and social development of learners as individuals, professionals and social citizens.
- Employability is not a job.
Our research has shown that while individual general education and disciplinary courses may address the EEQs, they are best developed over time and with continued attention across students’ curricular, co-curricular, and applied and work-based experiences. Generally, the qualities are developed and fostered by programs that:
- Intentionally integrate authentic, work-relevant, and applied or experiential learning activities into the curriculum and co-curriculum, such as through internships, apprenticeships, community-based and service learning activities, work-based projects, fieldwork, simulations, and leadership roles in student organizations.
- Directly address and assess these qualities in an ongoing way throughout the student’s educational pathway, recognizing qualities that learners bring with them; identifying areas where learners need more development and providing resources or interventions to support them; and engaging learners in reflecting on their own development in these areas.
- Engage deeply with employers to ensure that the programmatic and curricular approaches develop these qualities in ways that are authentic to the workplace and meet the needs of the local employment community.