Does it do what it says on the tin? – Evaluation of an established UK University Employability Enhancement Award.

Toni Wright, Sarah Jeffries-Watts


University employability awards, in the UK particularly, aim to assist students to develop career related skills and attributes and thus increase their potential to achieve graduate level employment. Self-report quantitative and qualitative data were collected at intervals via questionnaires, interviews and focus groups from two cohorts (N = 212) of a well-established career development and employability award at a large civic UK university. Findings indicated increases in confidence and aspiration, and in the ability to articulate and apply skills and abilities; also that the award may convey similar benefits to work experience. Survey data from award completers indicated that they had changed their career related behaviour, and students who have completed the award show a consistent small increase in their level of graduate employment when compared to the graduate employment figure for the university as a whole in the UK university destinations data.

Employability related values, attitudes and behaviour may all change as a result of award experience. Reported changes implied a sense of improved resourcefulness. It is hypothesised that the award may enhance student employability somewhat via development of psychosocial resources, producing a shift in the student’s perception of self and identity.


Graduate; Employability; Student Award; Evaluation

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