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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Skills for employability

​How academic programmes of study can promote work-related skills 

With an increasing tendency to see higher education as a product with a price tag, there is understandably growing interest in the extent to which academic programmes of study promote students' employability and earning power. The key information sets (KIS) that higher education providers are required to publish will help students anticipate their employment prospects after particular courses of study. You can read more about KIS on the website of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (opens in new window).

Recognising achievement beyond the curriculum

We have worked with the higher education sector to produce the resource Recognising achievement beyond the curriculum: A toolkit for enhancing strategy and practice, which higher education providers can use to reflect on what they do to recognise student achievement beyond the curriculum. The aim of encouraging students to participate in activities beyond their academic programme is to help students make the most of their higher education experience and take responsibility for their own personal and professional development.

Growing numbers of higher education providers are choosing to offer an award scheme in which students can participate in addition to their academic studies, which provides a means through which students can more fully recognise, develop and articulate their skills. The toolkit is designed to be used by higher education providers both when they are looking to develop and implement a new award, and when reviewing and evaluating an existing scheme.

The development of the toolkit has been informed by a survey of sector practice in recognising achievement beyond the curriculum. The survey explored the number and nature of award schemes currently operating, and higher education providers' plans and aspiration for the future of such awards.

Following publication of the summary report in December 2013, QAA received requests for further analysis of the data collected through the survey. In response, an addendum (PDF, 39KB) was published in February 2014.

To stimulate discussion about how QAA could work with the sector to provide guidance in this area, we published two think pieces by the Centre for Recording Achievement (CRA) and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Skills Awards Task Group. The papers considered some of the challenges that awards present for the higher education sector.

Enterprise and entrepreneurship education

The higher education community, working with QAA, has looked at how students can be encouraged to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and related skills, no matter what their subject area.

Enterprise and entrepreneurship education: Guidance for UK higher education providers

Preparing students for a more sustainable society

We are involved in a project to promote the development of skills, attitudes and attributes relevant to living and working in a more sustainable society.

Education for sustainable development: Guidance for UK higher education providers

Student employability profiles

To assist students in judging their employability as a result of pursuing a given discipline, the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and Subject Centres have compiled Student Employability Profiles in collaboration with the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE). Each profile identifies skills that can be developed through the study of a particular discipline, based on subject benchmark statements. These skills have been mapped against input from employers who are members of CIHE, setting out the skills, competencies and attributes that they look for when recruiting staff. Further information is available on the HEA website (opens in new window). We also publish guidance to help academic staff promote students' personal development.