The seven wonders of employability

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Hebblethwaite, Denisa
Ayling, Diana
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Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Unitec courses
Bachelor of Business Studies
Industry Based Learning (IBL)
work-integrated learning (WIL)
university to work transition
Hebblethwaite, D.E., & Ayling, D. (2018). The seven wonders of employability. In K.E. Zegwaard and K. Hoskyn (Ed.), New Zealand Association of Cooperative Education 2018 Conference Proceedings (pp. 11-15). Retrieved from
There is growing recognition among tertiary education organisations (TEOs) of the importance and responsibility of transitioning students into the workplace. Previously, providing students with opportunities to gain real work experience and build ‘employability’, has been largely driven by policy makers and industry stakeholders (Cai, 2012), however, more recently, there has been added pressure from students themselves as they face a more competitive and changing job market (Jameson, Strudwick, Bond-Taylor, & Jones, 2012). Whether TEO’s are trying to meet their students’ demands, feel morally obligated to provide these skills, or are simply adhering to government policy, they are increasingly embedding work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences and professional development opportunities into the curriculum to enhance students’ ‘employability’ (Higher Education Academy, 2016) [...] AIMS: The overall aim of the study is to investigate the development of advocated employability skills during a WIL experience to inform future WIL curriculum development. The specific research objectives are to: (i) to identify advocated employability skills developed by students during a WIL experience; (ii) to determine the extent to which students’ experiences affect their perceptions of their employability. METHODS: The student cohort consisted of all students in the Industry Based Learning (IBL) course, a compulsory 30 credit course in the Bachelor of Business degree, at Unitec Institute of Technology during 2017. The students were required to write a 1500-word reflection on their WIL experience which formed part of an overall assessment of their achievements in a student portfolio. The research ethics were approved by the Unitec Research Ethics Committee and students voluntarily provided their student reflections following an invitation to participate in the study after completion of their course. RESULTS: The analysis of the identified references to employability skills revealed ‘communication’ as the skill students engaged with most frequently. Students engaged least with ‘willingness to learn’.
New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education
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