Auditing and action planning employability in programmes

Understanding your current employability position is key to knowing what you do well and what could be improved. You can find out about your employability performance by examining your employability data and by auditing/mapping your employability provision.

This is now of more significance because employability data is to be used within the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and it will therefore have even greater prominence in judgements about the programme performance.

Use what you find from your employability data and audit to help you action plan and better promote the employability successes of your programmes (e.g. on your programme course web page), and to help identify priorities for enhancement.


Employability Data 

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) data - which includes the main annual survey collected six months after graduation, and a biennial longitudinal survey three and a half years after graduation - is the most widely used employability data used to construct league tables. The  DLHE data for your programmes three year trends of the DLHE and benchmarking against the subject sector can be located in Corporate Information System from the University Planning portal. This will need to be examined in relation to discipline benchmarks in order to get a good picture of how your programme is performing.   

It is also worth looking at your employability performance in a range of league tables. They calculate performance slightly differently and so graduate prospects may appear better in some than others. Use the league tables to think about how your programme compares to that of your competitors. Are they doing better and if so, why?

Take this further by looking at your SPQ and NSS (Q19-21) responses that relate to personal development. Interrogate open comments to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. These data sets are also available on the Corporate Information System.

Examples of data sets regarding universities  that potential applicants and relatives might use include: 

CES can support you to analyse the data


Employability Auditing and Mapping 

Conducting an employability audit of your curriculum will establish a more detailed picture of how employability is handled in your area, including strengths and weaknesses. It can be used to facilitate conversations with colleagues, share practice and establish priorities.

CES and TLS can support you  in auditing and mapping employability in the curriculum 

The following auditing/mapping tools are available:

* The HEA Mapping Employability Toolkit (recommended) 

* The Plymouth Compass Graduate Attributes Mapping Tool (recommended) 

* The Open University Employability mapping tool

* University of Kent Careers and Employability Audit offers an HEI example. 

* Cole, D. and Tibby, M (2013). Defining and developing your approach to employability – A framework for higher education institutions. The Higher Education Academy.

* JISC: Developing student employability project – reports, case studies and toolkit




Action planning for improved employability

Once the audit has been completed you need to develop an action plan that is proportionate to the need identified in the audit. This should be developed in conjunction with the employability lead and other key stakeholders in your school and programmes.

The action plan should identify planned employability objectives and activities, potential challenges and cost implications. The plan should include short, medium and long term objectives starting immediately. Careers & Employability, Teaching and Learning Support and ASTI can assist with the development of these plans.

Identified employability actions need to be incorporated into the Programme TLSE Action Plan in Section 8.

This will be reported at School and Faculty Teaching and Learning Quality Committee.

CES and TLS can support you to develop your action plan