Is Your Graduate Job Ready? Student Graduate Employability – a Tertiary Institute’s Responsibility
Fay is a student enrolled to study a marketing course. She has forgone her full time job to work part-time to help make ends meet, and tries to balance her personal and study life.
At her tertiary institute, she regularly attends weekly classes, completes the reading, and works diligently to write and submit the unit assessments. The term is filled with stress and challenges, but Fay knows that only committed students achieve their goal of successful study, and attain work ‘ready attributes’ to fulfil their career prospects. Fay keeps her eyes firmly on her future career goals. 

Student employability is the new buzz word for tertiary institutes. Tertiary institutes are committed to attain student employability.


What is student employability?

Student employability is a et of skills, knowledge and personal attributes that the student has acquired during their study to become ‘work ready’ to gain employment, and to be successful in their chosen occupations.

With the rising costs of education, student debt and personal sacrifice, students seek an assurance that the money spent on their education, and the opportunity cost of forgoing full time employment is an investment in their future that is well spent.

Employability has made an inroad, and it is an important element within the teaching and learning agenda. Tertiary institutes are now resourcing to meet the employability challenge.


The responsibility of tertiary institutes and training organisations

Producing employable graduates is a responsibility of the tertiary agenda. There is a competitive advantage to students in the job market. This is double edged as students evaluate which institutes provide the best graduate prospects, and employers rely on institutes to develop high quality candidates to fill positions in industry.

Institutes recognise that producing graduates who are equipped for their future is important for three reasons.

1 As partners with students in the learning process, tertiary institutes acknowledge their responsibility to produce employable graduates. It is no longer enough to provide students with their ‘technical’ qualification.

2 A focus on employability can encourage student motivation, leading to better results and student outcomes. Additionally, teachers are encouraged to practice innovative teaching, learning and assessment methods to engage students, and provide higher level learning. This enhances the institute’s and course’s reputation, which can attract student enrolments into a particular course.

3 Employers will target universities where courses produce graduates with attributes that their industry is seeking. Employers through their industry may have input into course accreditation.

Employability skills that employers are seeking in the curriculum via course learning and assessment include:

  • communication
  • creativity and innovation
  • initiative and enterprise
  • professionalism
  • planning and organisation
  • problem identification and solution
  • intercultural competence
  • teamwork
  • use of tools and technology

Educators, to enhance their teaching outcomes, are encouraged to apply innovative teaching and assessment methods to engage students in their learning, and develop student motivation to attain higher results. Examples of learning experiences include: experiential techniques such as whole-class activities and discussions to develop reflection, presentation, leadership and professional practice.


How to provide students with market currency in job seeking skills 

The Graduate Employability Project, commissioned by the Australian government based in part on 2013 survey data released by Graduate Careers Australia found that graduate employability rates are the lowest they have been in 20 years.

One finding from the project is the evidence of gaps between the perspectives of students, graduates, employers and higher education personnel in how to approach the overall higher education experience for heightened employability.

Institutes offer students traditional careers and employability support. But, it is traditional. An ‘old school approach’ does not relate to the modern students’ technological communication style to deliver superior outcomes.

Clearly, the ‘old school approach’ is ready for a modern technological results driven approach where students are proactive, and drive their career outcomes.

Tertiary institutes, provide students with best practice career development skills to land a job in the twenty first century!

Online Job Seeking Skills programs are the new buzz words. Online learning is an exciting platform for learners as they are tech savvy, use this medium naturally, it is mobile enabled, and it is available 24/7. Importantly, it is cost effective for the institute.    

A licensed online Job Seeking Skills program provides best practice career tools to assist students in the job application process. It is user friendly and caters to a range of learning styles.  

Topics include: self-assessments with reports, letter writing, resume writing, interview skills, etc. It provides assessment tools for self-understanding, content, templates, sample documents (letters, resumes) and videos on a range of job seeking skills topics. The program includes a recording system for individuals to practice their job interviews, and view their presentation. Individuals can research organisations of interest as part of their job application process, and there is access to jobs via SEEK and INDEED. Students can study at their own time, pace their learning, and spend as much time as they require on topics that match their needs and interest.


Tertiary institutes: What strategies are you using to improve your graduate employability? Share your leading strategies below in ‘Comments.’

About Leah Shmerling

Leah Shmerling

Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and has extensive experience in career development, life coaching, education and training.

Leah is the author of two books in careers and business communication, a former freelance writer for The Age and Herald Sun, and publisher of two accredited online short courses, Mentoring and Development and Foundations in Career Development Practice.

Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA), a Certified Retirement Coach and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification

Leah Shmerling can be contacted here


Training Testimonials

Gina Liu
Gina Liu

Senior Pathway Advisor

Thanks Leah for having provided fantastic training. I did enjoy the course and learnt a lot.

I am interested in continuing my study in this direction so I will think about taking up further study in Graduate Diploma.

James Alexander
James Alexander

Account Manager

Thanks again for your patience and support throughout the duration of the course. I couldn’t have completed without your support and assistance.

Judith Ayre
Judith Ayre

Senior Lecturer & School of Counselling Academic Head

Leah, this is awesome, something to be really proud of. I am so glad you are here but more than that, that you are offering yourself and your expertise to the world. The world is clearly a better place for your presence. Thanks again for everything.

Janette Brien
Janette Brien

Rehabilitation Consultant

I would like to thank you for supporting me through your extensive supply of resources and experience in successfully completing the Foundations in Career Development Practice, CHCSS00005 Career Development Skills Set.

The facilitated delivery included a blend of monthly webinars, on-line resources and relevant workplace assignment tasks that have built my confidence to coach my clients toward achieving their desired goals.

Your feedback of my work was invaluable as it taught me to work smarter, more efficiently, providing me with more effective results and happier clients.

So, thank you very much for all your input over last 7 months!

Penny Azzi
Penny Azzi

Director, The Kazbah Group

I really enjoyed this training a lot and it was very beneficial not only to me but my organisation.  The course facilitator used her wealth of knowledge and experience to provide us with real examples that I could utilise within my organisation.  The content was user friendly and high quality. The support and guidance was outstanding throughout the program.  I would highly recommend this course and look forward to my next program with the course facilitator and the Team.

Tracey Walker
Tracey Walker

Learning and Development Manager, Ayers Rock Resort

I was lucky enough to have the course facilitator as my TAE trainer.  With a blended delivery of on-line content and weekly Skype one-on-one sessions, I found this learning experience to be one of the best of my adult life.  She set me challenges and workplace assignments that made the learning very relevant and effective.  Her various training techniques were both stimulating and innovative, which was extremely advantageous as I was able to use these same techniques with my Trainees.

Jack L. Harris
Jack L. Harris

Prof Emeritus

With Leah’s enthusiastic approach I was motivated to examine much more than the basic requirements of the course. Her depth of knowledge in this arena not only surprised me but empowered me to pursue all aspects of it to ensure I had a really good understanding of what it entailed. Leah had presented the course in a professional yet warm and personal way and which allowed her students to become closely acquainted with the subject. Her passion for helping others is highly evident and via this avenue she is able to encourage others to be the change they want to see in themselves and in the world around them.

Richard Fowler
Richard Fowler

Student, Foundations in Career Development Practice

I have been able to demonstrate many of the elements of the course immediately, and see the results in provoking the right conversations, as well as providing areas of focus that aid in alleviating tensions, and pointing toward solutions. Leah has pitched the course to comprehensively cover pertinent topics with her own flair, in a manner befitting high quality professional development. I would recommend it wherever applicable.


Hospitality and Retail

‘The courses are good. I enjoy studying online in my home. It is easier and preferable to going to university. Staff are supportive, assisting me to succeed.’



‘Leah is a wealth of information and useful in terms of teaching content. It has been vital to how we learn and apply the skills.’

Nikki McCartney
Nikki McCartney

Management Consultant

“I’m blown away! This is fabulous! The Foundations unit I looked at has so many great educational principles built in and all using that digital world so well.”

Counselling Testimonials



‘Leah, you have assisted me to broaden my career options beyond what I was considering.’



‘A real insight, I can see how far behind I was – beautiful!’



‘Leah, you have been absolutely invaluable today. Worth more than your weight in gold.’