Exploring the use of self-assessment to facilitate health students’ generic skills development
Employability skills for health graduates, and many disciplines within higher education, are considered vital to maximising their capacity to cope with the rapidly changing, uncertain and highly competitive labour market. Despite the increasing importance of developing generic skills for employability, there is a dearth of knowledge about how to support health students to develop generic skills as part of their formal education. The main objective of this two-phase study was to engage health students in the process of self-assessment of their generic skills and explore the potential of this process to facilitate their generic skills development. The first phase of this study engaged students in completing a self- assessment questionnaire, incorporating a validated set of industry-demanded skills with associated behaviours. In the second phase a subsection of respondents participated in focus group interviews that explored their perception of the self-assessment process in generic skills development. Students viewed themselves as having some capabilities to perform the generic skills, as well as their university studies contributing to the development of these skills. The qualitative data found that the self-assessment process prompted students to reflect on their abilities and further engage with developing these skills. This study supports the evidence for contextualising and embedding a process of self-assessment of generic skills into the formal curricula to help better prepare health students for their future work.
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