Its mainly about fit: employability perspectives from undergraduate learners on a vocational course in England

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Abstract

Numerous definitions of employability exist and they vary. Employability stakeholders have been consulted regarding their interpretations of employability. Nevertheless, the student perspective on employability is not dominant in employability literature. This paper is interested in students’ general understanding of employability and consequently, its aim is to explore students’ experience of employability within higher education.

A qualitative method was adopted to obtain the student perspective. The research approach of a collective case study was taken. 3 cases involving 11 undergraduate students contributed to the collective case study. Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews; students supplied employability related stories. Additionally, work placement written reflections plus work placement mentor feedback forms were examined.
Findings demonstrated that participants perceived employability as a multifactorial concept, however, a fit between worker and their work was of prime importance. Certain elements were considered impactful on fit. They included- knowledge, skills, practicalities, the social, change, happiness, and challenge.
Employability is well-recognised as a multifactorial concept and previous authors have linked employability with a fit between worker and their work. Nevertheless, this paper stresses the importance of fit between worker and their work for students. It also identifies factors influential on fit and therefore on employability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustry and Higher Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Employability
  • Fit
  • Students
  • Higher education
  • Workplace

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