Exploring the practical and philosophical implications of the employability concept for stakeholders in higher education

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    Employability is a familiar theme in higher education practice. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge, studies in higher education have been linked with the future activities and employment of students; this has been demonstrated in historical practice and is acknowledged in UK policy. Increasingly the purpose of higher education appears to be associated with employment related success. As universities are still major protagonists in higher education provision within the U.K. employability related discourse affects them. Universities are evaluated on the employment status of their graduates and teaching quality is appraised by its association with employability. As a result, many universities incorporate strategies that are thought to encourage employability related success. Examples include work placements and embedding skills into programs of study that are seen as both attractive to employers and thought to be transferable from one context to another. This paper recognises that there has been an ongoing debate regarding the possible effects of increasingly instrumental approaches towards learning within higher education. Discussions commonly focus on the potential eclipse of other functions that have been associated with a university’s purpose such as knowledge creation. This article explores the concept of employability through relevant literature. The complexity and ambiguity of the concept is revealed along with the possible benefits and challenges for those associated with higher education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-95
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Multidisciplinary Comparative Studies
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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