Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Defining a taxonomy of employability skills for 21st-century higher education graduates
Adriana Ornellas

Last modified: 10-05-2018


This paper aims to discuss the theoretical development and the practical validation of a taxonomy of skills for boosting new graduates employability at Higher Education Institutions (HEI).

The taxonomy was developed within the framework of the project Skill Up: Matching graduates' skills and labour world demands through authentic learning scenario. The project, funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, is a strategic partneship in the field of Higher Education (HE) that involves six partners (four universities, a VET school and an employer representative) from three European countries (Spain, Sweden and Germany).

For the definition and validation of the taxonomy two methods were applied: a) a literature review of studies and reports that in recent years have established different frameworks and lists of skills crucial for HE graduates to acquire; b) an asynchronous online focus group involving various stakeholders (undergraduates, graduates, employers' representatives, lecturers and counsellors) to validate the taxonomy.

The paper presents the resulting list of employability skills sorted into four clusters: cognitive, methodological, social and subject-specific.

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