So what goes around comes around, and of course Johnny Rich will be aware that his sentiments about employability are not only in the Higher Education Academy’s annals, but also that the same argument has been advanced since the mid-1980s (“We need to talk about employability, not employment”, Opinion, 10 December).
Employability has never been the same as employment and is about students’ attributes, be they knowledge, skills or dispositions. Indeed, employers have been consistent over the past 30 years in stating a desire for employees with good interactive skills and personal skills such as a willingness to learn, tact and tenacity, as well as subject knowledge. The only thing that has changed in those 30 years is the prominence given to IT, which reflects technological advances. But we shouldn’t be surprised by the revelatory tone of this piece because higher education research has a history of ignoring its own history.
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