22 SES 13 B, Universities and Social Justice: Research From a Human Development and Human Capabilities Perspective
This paper explores the possibility of developing a capability approach to graduate employability. I present the results of a small research exercise that investigated employer perceptions of graduate employability. From these findings a picture of graduate identity can be developed. What emerges is a four-dimensional concept of identity that comprises value, intellect, social engagement and performance. Value includes personal ethics but also a commitment to social values such as diversity and sustainability. Social engagement refers to the ability to interact with persons constructively across a range of situations and communities of practice. Intellect is what the degree programme of study itself delivers whilst performance refers to the potential to deliver results. The enactment of these four strands or dimensions is best captured through the capability approach, associated with the work of Amartya Sen. The development of graduate identity is the development of a capability set which permits and enables a range of ‘functionings’ across the four dimensions. When graduates are thinking about the kind of occupation in life they wish to pursue they need to reflect on their employability using the framework of graduate identity. This framework offers the possibility for graduates to address employability without neglecting their well-being.
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