GENERIC SKILLS TRAINING IN HIGHER EDUCATION: PROMOTION OF EMPLOYABILITY AS LABOUR INTEGRATION STRATEGY

L.I. Llinares, J.J. Zacarés, A.I. Córdoba

University of Valencia (SPAIN)
In the Knowledge Society, higher education has become a relevant factor for a successful inclusion in the labour market. The relationship between the educational context and the workplace is the very basis of the construction of the Europe of Knowledge (EK) in the EHEA (COM, 2003; LCEur 2003\1791). In fact, the Lisbon European Council declares that education and training are the fundamental tools to accomplish the EK, and that both elements should be adapted to the needs of the labour market (LCEur 2005\1178; Sorbonne Declaration, 1998). This new requirement is key to promote the employability and adaptability of students within the EK, and defines a major goal of higher education (LCEur 1996\2361; MEC, 2006).

Many studies have been carried out on employability, but this elusive concept is not free of ambiguity. Due to a lack of systematization, there is currently not agreement about what the dimensions of employability are, and how employability could be assessed. The goal of this presentation is to analyze and classify the dimensions of employability in order to improve conceptualization and assessment. These dimensions are relevant for both the initial assessment of students and the design and organization of education because they allow us to investigate the alignment of education and the labour market. This analysis would also become an essential element to generate reflective analysis in all stakeholders involved. We firstly present a list of criteria that can be used to define employability based on a review of different conceptualizations. Then, we analyze the instruments most commonly used to measure employability. The results suggest that neoliberalism has strongly influenced current views on employability by focusing on the responsibility of individuals to getting a job. We urge stakeholders to think on the ways through which reality is interpreted if we are to be fully aware of how this process influences education planning.