Graduate employability skills: The voice of Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) students in Zimbabwe
The graduate employability has seen most governments, institutions of higher learning and industries engaging each other, as industries feel universities and colleges are churning out graduates that are not work ready. This has led to many strands to the discourse of graduate employability. One strand of the discourse is whether the higher education institutions should produce work-ready graduates. Another strand of the discourse is on how these institutions can make their graduates work ready, if it is an expectation that the graduates should be work ready. There is also another strand of the discourse on what constitutes graduate employability, that is, what skills make graduates work ready. This article looks at the latter from the perspectives of Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) students in Zimbabwe. The article reports on part of a major study that was conducted on student internship and employability. Data was collected through focus group discussions with final year students from three agricultural colleges, that were selected using an eclectic sampling strategy which incorporated both typical case and maximal variation. The study showed that students view soft skills, namely entrepreneurship, financial literacy, innovativeness, ethics, problem-solving, honesty and some technical skills as essential to them.
Artess, J., P. Forbes, and N. Ripmeester. 2011. “Supporting graduate employability: HEI practice in other countries.” BIS Research Paper Number 40. London: BIS.
Bennet, D. 2018. “Graduate employability and higher education: Past, present and future.” HERDSA Review of Higher Education 5: 31‒61.
Blignaut, S. 2020. “Transforming the curriculum for the unique challenges faced by South Africa.” Curriculum Perspectives 41: 27‒34. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-020-00104-6.
Bridgestock R. 2017. “The university and the knowledge network: A new educational model for twenty-first century learning and employability.” In Graduate employability in context: Theory, research and debate, ed. M. Tomlinson and L. Holmes, 339‒358. Palgrave Macmillan.
Bridgestock R. 2009. “The graduate attributes we’ve overlooked: Enhancing graduate employability through career management skills.” Higher Education Research & Development (HERSD) 28: 31‒44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360802444347.
Cletzer, D. A., R. Rudd, D. Westfall-Rudd, M. Draoe, and A. Tiffany. 2016. “Agricultural Education and Training in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Three-step Approach to AET Institution Building.” International Journal of Education 8: 73‒87. http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ije.v8i2.9196.
Caballero, C. and A. Walker. 2010. “Work readiness in graduate recruitment and selection: A review of current assessment methods.” Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability 1: 13‒25.
Campbell, M. and E. Zegwaard. 2011. Ethical considerations and values development in work-integrated learning programs. New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education Conference. Napier, Hawkes Bay New Zealand: Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT).
Creswell, J. W. 2003. Research Design; Quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. London: Sage.
Creswell, J. and Clark V. Plano. 2011. Designing and conducting mixed method research. 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Curtis, D. and P. McKenzie. 2001. Employability skills for Australian industry: Literature review and framework development. Canberra: DEST/ACER.
Harris, R. and C. Berwyn. 2018. Editorial: “The importance of skills – but which skills?” International Journal of Training Research 16: 195‒199. https://doi.org/10.1080/14480220.2018.1576330.
Haron, M. A., M. A. Mohammad Hussain, E. Ali, R. Che Rus, and R. Mohammad Zulkifli. 2019. “The Importance of Generic Skills for Technical and Vocational Students Employability.” International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences 9.
Higdon, R. D. 2016. “Employability: The missing voice: How student and graduate views could be used to develop future higher education policy and inform curricula.” Power and Education 8: 176‒195.
Hillard, J. and E. Pollard. 1998. “Employability-developing a framework for policy analysis.” Research Brief 58. www.researchgate.net/publication/225083565_Employability_Developing_a_ framework_for_policy_analysis. (Accessed 4 May 2018).
Holmes, L. 2013. Competing perspectives on graduate employability: Possession, position or process? Studies in Higher Education 38: 538‒554.
Ismail, S. and D. Mohammed. 2015. Employability Skills in TVET Curriculum in Nigeria Federal Universities of Technology. Procedia ‒ Social and Behavioral Sciences 204: 73‒80.
Jollands, M. 2015. “A framework for graduate employability adapted for discipline differences.” In Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World, ed. T. Thomas, E. Levin, P. Dawson, et al., 246‒255. Melbourne, Australia: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc.
Jones, K. 2013. The Role of Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Developing Countries: A Review of Literature, Issues and Recommendations for Action. Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education.
Kirui, OKa and M. Kozicka. 2018. “Vocational Education and Training for Farmers and Other Actors in the Agri-Food Value Chain in Africa ZEF.” Working Paper Series. University of Bonn: Center for Development Research.
Leggett, M., A. Kinnear, M. Boyce, and I. Bennet. 2004. “Student and staff perceptions of the importance of generic skills in science.” Higher Education Research and Development 23: 295‒312. https://doi.org/10.1080/0729436042000235418.
Lisá E., K. Hennelová, and D. Newman. 2019. “Comparison between employers’ and students’ expectations in respect of employability skills of university graduates.” International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning 20: 71‒82.
Lowden, K., S. Hall, D. D. Elliot, and J. Lewin. 2011. Employers’ Perceptions of the Employability Skills of New Graduates. London: Edge Foundation.
Merriam, S. B. 2009. Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. Revised and Expanded from Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. New York: Jossey-Bass.
Moore, T. and J. Morton. 2015. “The myth of job readiness? Written communication, employability, and the ‘skills gap’ in higher education.” Studies in Higher Education 42: 591‒209 DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2015.1067602. 42:3, 591-609
Morrison, A. 2014. “A class act? Lecturers’ views on undergraduates’ employability.” British Journal of Sociology of Education 35: 487‒505.
Moser, A. and I. Korstjens. 2018. “Series: Practical guidance to qualitative research. Part 3: Sampling, data collection and analysis.” European Journal of General Practice 24: 9‒18.
Mutitu, K., W. Odongo, and M. Kihu. 2018. “An Investigation on Youth Employability skills in TVET Institutions Mombasa County.” African Journal of Technical & Vocational education & Training 3: 78‒93.
Mtawa, N., S. Fongwa, and M. Wilson-Strydom. 2019. “Enhancing graduate employability attributes and capabilities formation: A service-learning approach.” Teaching in Higher Education 26: 679‒695. http://doi.org/10.1080/1355625.2019.1672150.
Nugraha, H. D., R. A. V. Kencanasari, and R. Nuril. 2020. “Employability Skills in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).” Innovation of Vocational Technology Education XVI: 1‒10. www.ejournal.upi.edu/index.php/invotec.
Nyumba, T. O., K. Wilson, C. H. Derrick, and N. Murkherjee. 2018. “The use of focus group discussion methodology: Insights from two decades of application in conservation.” Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9: 20‒32.
Oliver, B. 2015. “Redefining graduate employability and work-integrated learning: Proposals for effective higher education and disrupted economies.” Journal of Teaching & Learning & Graduate Employability 6: 56‒65.
Osmani, M., V. Weerakkody, N. Hindi, and T. Eldabi. 2019. “Graduates employability skills: A review of literature against market demand.” Journal of Education for Business 94: 423‒432. https://doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2018.1545629.
Paryono, P. 2014. “Transferable skills in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Brunei Darussalam.” www.tvet-online.asia.
Patton, M. 2015. Qualitative research and evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Pegg, A., J. Waldock, Sa. Hendy-Isaac, and R. Lawton. 2012. Pedagogy for Employability. York: Higher Education Academy.
Rowe, A. and K. E. Zegwaard. 2017. “Developing graduate employability skills and attributes: Curriculum enhancement through work-integrated learning.” Asia Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, Special Issue 18: 87‒99.
Rust, C. and L. Froud. 2011. “Personal literacy: The vital, yet often overlooked, graduate attribute.” Journal of Teaching and learning Graduate Employability 2(1): 28‒40.
Singh, H. and M. Gera. 2015. “Generic Skills for Sustainable Development.” PARIPEX ‒ Indian Journal of Research 4: 290‒292.
Tran, T. T. 2012. “Graduate employability: Interpretation versus expectation.” In Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education, ed. N. Brown, S. M. Jones, and A. Adam, 317‒325. Hobart, Australia: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia.
Tymon, A. 2013. The student’s perspective on employability. Studies in Higher Education 38: 841‒856.
UNESCO. 2018. “TVET Policy Review Zimbabwe.” https://unescdoc.unesco.org/ark: /48223/pf0000366321.
Vandenbosch, T. 2006. “Post-primary agricultural education and training in sub-Saharan Africa: Adapting supply to changing demand.” Promotion of Technical Vocational Education and Training TVET for the Agricultural Sector ATVET in Africa: A Review of best Practises on ATVET. https://www.academia.edu/31791983. (Accessed 12 September 2018).
Zegwaard, K., M. Campbell, and T. Pretti. 2017. “Professional identities and ethics: The role of work-integrated learning in developing agentic professionals.” In Work-integrated learning in the 21st century: Global perspectives on the future international perspectives on education and society, ed. T. Bowen and M. Drysdale, 145‒160. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.
Copyright (c) 2021 XAVIER EDZIWA
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
This journal is an open access journal, and the authorsÂ and journal should be properly acknowledged, when works are cited.
Authors, copyright holders, may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, theses, dissertations, conferences and conference papers.Â
A copy of the authors' publishers version may also be hosted on the following websites:
- Non-commercial personal homepage or blog.
- Institutional webpage.
- Authors Institutional Repository.
The following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: This is an electronic version of an article published in SAJHE, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXX “XXX", DOI. Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/SAJHE) may be found.
Authors publishers version, affiliated with the Stellenbosch University will be automatically deposited in the University Institutional Repository SUNScholar.
Articles as a whole, may not be re-published with another journal.
The following license applies:
Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0