Matt Cook from the University of Kent’s Employability Points Scheme writes about the importance of transferable skills and getting an edge in the employment market.
“Transferable skills” is a buzzword which is becoming increasingly fashionable in Higher Education. Students from a wide range of academic backgrounds are frequently asked to consider the core skills they have mastered from their studies, which can be implemented into a range of different industries.
For instance, data collected by the Higher Education Careers Service Unit in September 2014 confirmed that 19.6% of Politics graduates* found employment in Business, HR and Finance and 15.6% started careers in marketing, PR and sales. Additionally, retail, catering and clerical roles were popular with Politics graduates.
Whereas these graduates studied a range of courses covering International Politics, Peace Studies, Human Rights and American Foreign policy, it was due to their “transferable skills” that they found graduate employment in areas such as business, marketing and finance.
But how do students secure an edge for a job, which has no direct relevance to their academic studies? What makes a Politics graduate more suitable for a marketing position than a History or Law graduate? Understandably, key skills, such as communication, problem solving and research skills can be developed from a range of academic contexts.
It is in such situations that initiatives such as the Employability Points scheme looks to ensure students can apply their transferable skills to a range of industries and stand-out to prospective employers. To get noticed by graduate recruiters, students are increasingly required to show evidence of work-ready skills and relevant work experience. The EP scheme ensures both these prerequisites are attained. For instance, by earning points by working part-time, volunteering, organising events, to name a few, students can gain these ‘real life’ skills employers want. By offering rewards, such as 3-month internships, work experience and work shadowing placements, students can gain work experience in a range of different industries through the EP scheme.
Therefore, by earning Employability Points and getting rewarded, students can not only develop ‘real life’ skills, but also apply transferable skills to a range of different industries, gaining increasingly important work experience. In 2013-14, students from the School of Politics and International Relations gained experiences of retail management through Waterstones, art management via the Lilford Gallery and Framers, and events management with Canterbury Cathedral Lodge. Such opportunities will be available for 2014-15 and much more.
With that in mind: “Get Involved! Get Rewarded!” with the EP Scheme and for more information please visit www.kent.ac.uk/employabilitypoints or email the EP team via firstname.lastname@example.org
*4,435 Politics graduates surveyed.