An Overview and Discussion of Research Supporting the Concept of a Generic ‘Soft’ Skills Framework in Tertiary Education towards Bridging the Gap between Education and Employment

Authors: Janet Ferguson, Otago Polytechnic

Abstract: This paper explores the rationale for developing a formal generic skills framework at tertiary education level in New Zealand. Employers require graduates to be work-ready after completion of the study. The dynamics of this requirement change as the business environment changes. This increases pressure on education institutions and on the graduates. A generic skills framework which would be structured against up to ten skill areas may go some way to resolving this pressure. These skills would reflect those identified by employers and other stakeholders and reflect the interest in skills internationally. The benefits to the organisation would be in the immediate recognition of generic skills, ability, potential, and best fit with the organisation’s plans and strategies enabling a shorter learning curve. The challenge is in identifying which generic skills are required by employers. This paper presents an overview and a discussion of the results of a survey conducted with human resource professionals on the skills and their uses.