July 9, 2018

Employability in a Global Context: Evolving Policy and Practice in Employability, Work Integrated Learning, and Career Development Learning

University graduates need to be quick-thinking, adaptable and innovative workers who possess the skills to navigate an increasingly competitive and constantly evolving workforce (Hagel et al. 2014). These factors require many graduates to construct their careers by putting together multiple, overlapping roles, acquiring new knowledge on demand, and positioning themselves within their own country and discipline as well as across national and disciplinary borders (Bauman 2012, Lehmann and Adams 2016).

In this context, it is unsurprising that the model of graduate employability has shifted over time from an emphasis on individual job-getting to one that emphasises having the requisite skills to obtain or create work.

This research project was activated to explore trends emerging in the intersecting domains of employability, work-integrated learning, and career development learning. In late 2015, researchers, academics, and career practitioners from Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada gathered to attend an Employability Masterclass at the University of Wollongong. Attendees explored questions around employability in vocationally specific and non-vocationally specific degrees. The language and conversations highlighted the influence of global contexts on strategies and practices in transnational settings—specifically, how employability is defined and supported across the breadth of university activity.

Employability in a Global Context