Skills Development

What Do We Mean by Employability?

Over the last 20 years, definitions of employability have shifted. They have moved towards a more holistic view of 'graduate attributes' that includes 'softer' transferable skills and person-centered qualities, developed in conjunction with subject-specific knowledge, skills and competencies.
"To be employed is to be at risk, to be employable is to be secure"
'The Art of Building Windmills' - Peter Hawkins 1999, Graduates Work - CR1997
The current concept of employability has been defined as:
"A set of achievements - skills, understandings and personal attributes - that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy."
Knight and Yorke, 2003
Employers value the experience that volunteering gives you, so make sure you record it:
"73% of employers said they would rather employ someone with voluntary experience than someone without. 50% of employers say that voluntary work experience can actually be more valuable than experience gained in paid employment."
Timebank Survey, Association of Graduate Recruiters

Skills Development

It is increasingly becoming skills rather than simply knowledge that is edging candidates ahead in the workforce. 

Source: Pearson Education


Decision Making Using available knowledge to make appropriate decisions in a timely manner
Honesty & Integrity Keeping to your word, leading by example, inspiring others, etc.
Planning & Organisation Creating project plans, managing others, allocating resources, etc.
Responsibility Willingness to take on challenges, leading other people, keeping to deadlines, etc.
Time Management & Self Discipline Punctuality, managing timescales & deadlines, prioritising work, etc.
Building Relationships Working with colleagues, creating links to other organisations, acting cooperatively, etc.
Customer Handling Dealing with difficult customers, acting in a professional manner, adapting to customer expectations, etc.
Marketing & Advertising Promoting on social media, creating web content, engaging an audience, etc.
Public Speaking Giving presentations, delivering a training course, giving a speech, etc.
Written Communication Essay and report writing, producing guidance or policy documents, communicating via email, etc.
Team Working
Achieving Shared Goals Working with others to achieve a desired outcome
Adaptability & Flexibility Willingness and ability to adopt different roles in a team and take on different perspectives
Resolving Conflict Dealing with competing ideas, maintaining group cohesion, acting as a mediator, etc.
Understanding Team Roles Awareness of the different roles people take in team, what different people bring to a team, and what your role is
Understanding Group Processes Understanding how group decisions are made, being aware of different voices, understanding what makes an effective team, etc.
Digital Literacy
Computer Programming Programming languages, web development, game development, app development, etc.
Graphic Design Using graphic design software, creating graphics for marketing, etc.
Learning New Software Ability to quickly learn new software, experience of software other than Microsoft Office, etc.
Microsoft Office Competence with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, etc.
Utilising Social Media Managing group or business social media, ability to use different platforms, developing social media marketing strategies, etc.
Problem Solving 
Analytical & Critical Thinking Assessing ideas, playing devil's advocate, considering alternative strategies, etc.
Evaluating Strategies Using tools to evaluate ideas/strategies, such as SWOT analysis, cost-benefit analysis, evaluation matrices, etc.
Idea Generation & Creativity Lateral thinking, proposing alternative solutions, brainstorming, etc.
Logistical Thinking Consideration of the logistical impact of an idea, e.g. finance, personnel, timeline, physical resources, etc.
Research & Understanding Framing problems with understanding of previous research, sector benchmarks, market readiness, etc.
Emotional Intelligence
Confidence & Self-Esteem Knowing your strengths & weaknesses, confident body language, self-belief, etc.
Empathy & Understanding Taking others' perspectives, active listening, recognising others' feelings, etc.
Positive Attitude Being cheerful and open, welcoming challenges and development opportunities, adopting a 'can do' approach, etc.
Resilience Adapting to unforeseen circumstances, recovering quickly from failure or rejection, dealing with stress, etc.
Self-Awareness & Self-Regulation Aware of your emotions and how they come across, regulating emotions to be appropriate for the workplace, awareness of the effect you have on others, etc.
Business & Organisational Planning Creating business plans/proposals, strategic development, organisational theory, etc.
Commercial Awareness Market and sector awareness, up-to-date knowledge, awareness of current affairs, industry norms and culture, etc.
Initiative & Motivation Good work ethic, willingness to take responsibility, enthusiasm, etc.
Negotiation & Sales Developing relationships with business contacts, pitching ideas, preparing for multiple outcomes, persuading, etc.
Self Promotion & Networking Meeting others in the sector, good self-presentation, research useful contacts, etc.
Global Citizenship 
Campaigning & Activism Lobbying, demonstrations, awareness raising, etc.
Civic Competence Engagement with political systems & democracy, community organising, taking part in local decision making, etc.
Intercultural Experience Volunteering abroad, travelling, working with people from another culture, etc.
Speaking Multiple Languages Ability to communicate in more than one language
Understanding the Globalised World Understanding...economics, international politics, migration, human rights, etc.



Hannah Markley
VP Reps and Volunteers
VP Reps and Volunteers

Hannah is ENSA’s Vice President Reps & Volunteers. If you need any information or advice about anything relating to being a rep, campaigns or volunteering, contact Hannah and she will tell you all you need to know.

Email Hannah

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