Employers have identified the attributes they seek in the graduates they recruit. The qualities or attributes used here have been identified and categorised by employer members of the Policy Forum of the Council for Industry and Higher Education. They are the key components they have observed in those individuals who can transform organisations and add value early in their careers (see the report Graduates Work by Harvey et al, 1997*) and comprise:
Cognitive Skills/Intellect: The ability to identify and solve problems; work with information and handle a mass of diverse data, assess risk and draw conclusions.
Generic Competencies: High-level and transferable key skills such as the ability to work with others in a team, communicate, persuade and have interpersonal sensitivity.
Personal Capabilities: The ability and desire to learn for oneself and improve one's self awareness and performance. To be a self starter (creativity, decisiveness, initiative) and to finish the job (flexibility, adaptability, tolerance to stress).
Technical Ability: For example, having the knowledge and experience of working with relevant modern laboratory equipment.
Business and / or Organisation Awareness: An appreciation of how businesses operate through having had (preferably relevant) work experience. (Bill Evans 2003 Pp. 123-126)
Practical & Professional Elements: Critical evaluation of the outcomes of professional practice; reflect and review own practice; participate in and review quality control processes and risk management.
An individual student may identify examples of their own skills development during the course of study and may map these against the list of attributes and qualities typically desired by employers, so enabling the student to translate their learning experiences into language helpful to employers. The following templates can be a useful aide in this process as it translates the subject specific skills into more generic employability skills.