Skip to main content Accessibility Statement

What is Focus On?

QAA Scotland's Focus On projects help the sector address recommendations and commendations from Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR). Focus On ties these outcomes to developmental activities, resources and events that the whole sector can get involved in. Projects last one academic year (from October to June). We try to focus on the most practical things that can help colleagues make a real difference in a short space of time.

Why graduate skills?

With debate on apprenticeships and skills high on the agenda in higher education, Focus On: Graduate Skills was relevant and timely. This project built on our previous work, including the Graduates for the 21st Century Enhancement Theme.

We identified topics relating to graduate skills in Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) Outcome Reports and in our Thematic Report on Employability and Graduate Attributes. We then consulted Scottish higher education institutions and students’ associations to identify priority areas. As a result, the project considered:

  • Readiness for Employment: how can we most effectively embed skills inside and outside the curriculum, including digital skills, for graduates from all disciplines?
  • Equality and Diversity: how can we support students from all backgrounds and characteristics to develop skills that will help them to secure and sustain success in the workplace?
  • Global Perspective: how do we ensure that all Scottish graduates are enabled to live and work in a global society, and that the Scottish sector is informed by global developments?

Outcome Reports

We have published two reports highlighting the key findings from the commissioned work and events held during this project.

Focus On Graduate Skills: Views from students graduates and employers

Publication date: 19 Sep 2019

Focus On: Graduate Skills - Key findings from Sharing Practice and Shaping Strategy events

Publication date: 11 Dec 2019

Research projects

We commissioned two projects.

  • Graduate Skills: Students Views
  • Graduate Skills: Graduate and Employer Views

These projects worked together to analyse the views of current students, graduates and employers on the skills developed by students at higher education institutions in Scotland, and to answer the following questions:

  • What is the sector doing well, and where could it do better?
  • How is the sector ensuring that appropriate digital skills are developed by graduates in all disciplines and subject areas?
  • How is the sector ensuring that all students (irrespective of background and different characteristics) are able to access the full range of skills development opportunities offered in higher education?
  • How is the sector ensuring that graduates are equipped to live and work in a global society?
Graduate Skills: Students Views

A team from the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art led the Graduate Skills: Students Views project. The team brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise on the development of graduate skills and attributes in higher education.

Their exciting approach to research and engaging students in the project helped us to analyse the views of current students on the skills they are developing through their studies. We present this material in a way that helps individuals, institutions and the sector as a whole develop new policies and practices in this vital area.

Focus on Graduate Skills: Student Views on Graduate skills

Publication date: 25 Sep 2019

Introduction to the student views research project

Publication date: 08 May 2019

Graduate Skills: Graduate and Employer Views

Graduates’ and Employers’ Views of Graduate Skills Development

Publication date: 27 Aug 2019

Appendix 1: Survey Design and Questions

Publication date: 27 Aug 2019

Appendix 2: Survey Responses by Characteristics

Publication date: 27 Aug 2019

Tweetchat and Events

On 5 December 2018 QAA Scotland guest-hosted the #LTHEchat on the subject of 'Graduate Skills'. We used this tweetchat to ask a series of questions about how higher education institutions and providers can better support student to develop the skills they will need to thrive in their lives and work following their studies. The whole conservation was captured on Tweetchat.

Further information

Focus On: Graduate Skills - Summary Booklet

Publication date: 31 Oct 2019

Focus On: Graduate Skills - Key Findings from Research Reports

Publication date: 31 Oct 2019

Employability and Graduate Attributes: Thematic Report update 2018

Publication date: 05 Nov 2018

Employability and the austerity decade

Publication date: 17 Jan 2019

Thinking strategically about employability and graduate attributes: Universities and enhancing learning for beyond university

Publication date: 17 Jan 2019

What is topical/emergent in Employability?

Publication date: 17 Jan 2019

Enhancing research-teaching linkages as a way to improve the development of employability attributes

Publication date: 17 Jan 2019