Is the graduate attributes approach sufficient to develop work ready graduates?

Publisher:
Curtin Learning and Teaching
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 2014, 5 (1), pp. 12 - 28 (16)
Issue Date:
2014-05
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Many universities have graduate attributes, sometimes referred to as generic skills, soft skills or work ready skills. This paper reports a study of the professional work experiences of recent Australian Information Technology (IT) graduates who identified that communication, time management, teamwork, working with people, working across cultures, project management and business skills were some of the major professional skills required for their work. A discussion of the study and its findings raises questions about the adequacy of the graduate attributes approach in the development of professional skills such as the ability of to work across cultures and on multiple projects which are major requirements of graduates in many IT (and other) workplaces. The study reveals the IT graduates’ perspectives on the challenges they faced at work, the typical professional skills requirements of their practice and how they acquired or developed them, the elements of their university study which had relevance to the required workplace professional skills and how well their studies prepared them to meet the professional needs of their practice.
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