Skills profile aims to help employers gauge graduates' abilities

September 22, 2006

The Higher Education Academy has listed the skills graduates are expected to have acquired on each of 52 university courses, writes Jessica Shepherd.

The profiles are designed to give employers a better idea of what they can expect from students, as well as helping students choose the right degree for them.

The profiles also aim to help staff devising curricula and writing prospectuses. Academics already have subject benchmark statements to inform teaching, which the profiles will complement.

The disciplines covered include health visiting, forestry, earth sciences, Welsh and engineering.

A philosophy graduate is, among other things, expected to be "articulate in identifying issues in all kinds of debate" and show "tolerance for stress, precision of thought and attention to details".

But a student of dance, drama and performance can hope to have developed the ability to "apply creative and imaginative skills through the realisation of practical research projects" and be able to "handle creative, personal and interpersonal issues".

Jackie Leyland of Liverpool University careers service said the profiles were useful to students going for job interviews or requesting work placements.

She said: "I work with lots of engineering students. As not all these students undertake work experience, it is important they are able to give examples, in job applications, of how they have developed work-related skills.

"I give students a copy of the discipline profile, which provides a valuable insight into the range of competencies and abilities that employers are looking for."

The academy has published the profiles as free guides: one for academics and one for employers.

The profiles are based on the skills identified in the Quality Assurance Agency's subject benchmark statements.

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