What transferable skills should students develop during their time at university? 1
1. Introduction 1
2. Research Objectives 1
3. Summary of Findings 2
4. Commentary on findings 2
Oral Communication 2
Fluency in a Second Language 3
Presentation skills and time management 3
Skills considered of least importance 3
5. Recommendations 3
What transferable skills should students develop during their time at university?
Transferable skills can be described as ‘skills developed in one situation which can be transferred to another situation’ e.g. problem-solving, decision-making, or communication skills. These skills are also known as ‘soft skills’, ‘key skills’ ...view middle of the document...
The report also presents some recommendations in light of its findings. These findings will ultimately be combined with findings from research with the other stakeholder groups involved in the third-level education process (academic staff, graduates and employers) in order to present a more comprehensive picture of how transferable skills fit into the third-level education system in Ireland.
2. Research Objectives
The main objectives of this research were:
a) To identify which transferable skills modern language students believe will be important
to them in their career after university; and
b) To ascertain modern language students’ perception of their own level of proficiency in
Other objectives included:
c) To learn modern language students’ opinion of what factors they feel are important to
both securing a job and further study; and
d) To identify why the students chose their particular courses and to ascertain to what extent they expect to use their language skills after graduation.
The research consisted of a personally administered survey to modern language students, of all years, in the three institutions involved in this research. The results presented in this report reflect the opinions of modern language students in general, with only minor institutional differences having been observed.
transferable skills were identified which may be considered important to graduates in their
careers after university.
3. Summary of Findings
The following are some of the main findings from this research. Modern language students: Recognise the greater importance of their enthusiasm and personality when applying for a job, above factors such as a good academic record or work experience. Recognise the importance of transferable skills, the majority agreeing that they are more important than specialist knowledge. Most students have considered the importance of these skills by the first or second year in university, although approximately 20% do not think about them until late in their university career, if at all. Are more or less equally divided on whether transferable skills should be learnt on the job or in university, but most students believe that personality plays an important role in the ability to acquire such skills. Believe that oral communication, time management and written communication will be particularly important skills for a future career. Recognised as being of slightly less importance are presentation skills, management of one’s own learning, fluency in a second language, and decision making. Consider team work and problem solving of only average importance. Customer service, leadership, networking and numeracy were considered unimportant in a future career. Believe themselves to be very proficient at oral and written communication, team work, IT and research skills. They recognise that they are not particularly proficient at time management and show some concern about the proficiency of their...