Perceptions of employability within an undergraduate science department: A case study to define current strategies and recommend improvements

Kimberly Craig, BSc, MSc

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Kimberly Craig ✉️ Department of Biology. Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Guyana – Turkeyen Campus. Greater Georgetown, Guyana.


Abstract

Perceptions of employability in academia are largely shaped by influences and personal experiences. As a substantial amount of a student’s university life is curriculum-based, the issue of whether the university is the ideal place to prepare students for employability is worth examining. This research investigated employability perceptions of an undergraduate science department, along with the influences and approaches taken by the University to address employability. The research questions aimed to determine perceptions of employability by students, graduates, and lecturers, and current strategies being used by the University to improve perceptions of employability. This study applied the pragmatic approach and a mixed-methods design through the use of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Qualitative data was analysed using the following themes: perceptions, influences, strategies, and outlook, while quantitative data was analysed using chi-squared analysis. The results demonstrated that robust methods for enhancing employability should be implemented to produce a more skilled or equipped workforce, such as providing opportunities for internship, networking, and short-courses. Further research was recommended to investigate perceptions of employability at other University departments to gain a more holistic understanding of the issues and employ best methods and practices that would benefit all graduates. Such a study would also contribute to greater understanding of the evolving role of universities in enhancing employability.

Keywords: Employability perceptions, Employability skills, Science graduates

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