A competency development approach to learning for employment

Kathryn McLachlan*, Linda Yeomans, Keith Zhi Guo Lim

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

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    Higher Education Institutions are increasingly aware of industry expectations regarding work-ready graduates. Work Integrated learning (WIL) and co-operative education initiatives are widely acknowledged for improving professional skills and work readiness, however, graduates often lack the 'soft' skills (communication, collaboration, problem solving) deemed essential for enhanced productivity and innovation in the workplace. Anecdotal evidence from the Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) program at Macquarie University, identified the difficulties that students experience in self-assessing employability skills.

    This paper discusses the theoretical and practical development of a competency development approach to learning for employment using an Assessment Centre process model currently embedded in the curriculum of one PACE unit. Developed and coordinated by post-graduate psychology students, the model provides a set of behavioural criteria by which to assess student employability skills.

    While there is little evidence in the literature of the use of AC's for enhancing undergraduate employability, preliminary research and evaluation findings from this project, suggest that the AC process can have a positive influence on the development of the 'soft' skills of employability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Higher Education Advances
    EditorsJosep Domenech, M. Cinta Vicent-Vela, Elena de la Poza, Desamparados Blazquez
    Place of PublicationSpain
    PublisherUniversitat Politecnica de Valencia
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    Event3rd International Conference on Higher Education Advances, HEAd '17 - Valencia, Spain
    Duration: 21 Jun 201723 Jun 2017

    Publication series

    ISSN (Electronic)2603-5871


    Conference3rd International Conference on Higher Education Advances, HEAd '17
    Abbreviated titleHEAd '17

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Assessment Centre
    • soft skills
    • employability
    • competency
    • goal setting


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