Knowledge Thinking Skills

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Knowledge Thinking Skills


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.

2) GEES Graduates' Knowledge, Skills & Attributes Intellectual skills

assessing the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and policies

analysing and problem-solving


critically judging and evaluating evidence

critically interpreting data and text

abstracting and synthesising information

developing a reasoned argument

taking responsibility for their own learning, and developing habits of reflection upon that learning

Discipline-specific skills

planning, designing and executing a piece of rigorous research or enquiry, including the production of a final report

undertaking effective fieldwork (with due regard for safety and risk assessment)

working safely in a scientific laboratory, with awareness of standard procedures

preparing effective maps and diagrams using a range of appropriate technologies

employing a variety of social survey and interpretative methods for the collection, analysis and understanding of information from the human world

employing a variety of technical and laboratory-based methods for the collection and analysis of spatial and environmental information (eg GIS, remote sensing and mathematical modelling)

combining and interpreting different types of geographical evidence (eg texts, imagery, maps, digitised and laboratory data)

recognising the moral and ethical issues involved in debates and enquiries

Key skills

learning and study

written communication

verbal presentation

numeracy and computation

spatial awareness and observation

field and laboratory studies (both scientific and computational)

information technology (including spreadsheets, databases, word processing, email and WWW)

information handling and retrieval (including the use of online computer searches); identifying, retrieving, sorting and exchanging information; investigating a wide ...
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