What steps could we take to embed employability in the curriculum?

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) has identified four stages that could help with embedding  employability in your course design and quality-assurance processes. These four easy steps will enable a consistent and comprehensive approach.

Step 1: Design your employability model

Start with answering the following questions:

  • Who are your stakeholders? How can you involve them in your discussions?
  • Who can support you in working through this stage of the process?
  • What does employability mean to you, your team and stakeholders?
  • What does your industry sector, employers or area of practice want to see in graduates?
  • What does industry or your area of practice believe is a desirable graduate attribute?
  • What are the students’ expectations of how you can support and enhance their employability?

Next, draw up a plan involving  all your stakeholders. It requires a combined effort, working in partnership with other institutional services and departments; careers service; student support services; student societies and also with external partners, such as alumni, employers and professional bodies.

Lastly, think about how these areas can be addressed, in the curriculum, co-curriculum, extracurriculum or in all three?


Step 2: Planning

Using the agreed points of reference identified at Stage 1, consider the following questions:

  • Which specific features of employability do you currently address and to what extent?
  • Is the timing and focus of your work in these areas right, given the students’ needs and their development trajectory at university and beyond?
  • To what extent is employability reflected in programme/course learning outcomes?
  • How is employability assessed and/or validated?
  • How do you measure the impact of employability activity and support?

Step 3: Action

Putting your plans into practice.

Step 4: Measuring impact


  1. What evidence do you have that your work is effective?
  • What are your measures of success?
  • What feedback have you obtained from students, stakeholders and colleagues?
  1. How have you assessed impact?
  • How rigorous is this process?
  • How do you utilise feedback or feed forward to inform future practice?
  1. Are you actively engaging alumni?
  • If yes, how do you measure impact and build on good practice?
  • If not, reflect on barriers to engagement and how you could start to address them.

(Adapted from HEA, 2015, Framework for embedding employability in higher education)

Further reading

Peg et al (2012), Pedagogy for employability https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/pedagogy-employability-2012 Higher Education Academy (HEA)

This HEA publication includes a series of case studies, which focus on teaching and learning strategies that supports the development of student employability.