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An employability definition for Colleges and other Training Providers. Includes a summary of employability skills and methods for measurement.

Colleges and other Training Providers may have to assess baseline skills for new apprentices. Some skills and experiences must relate to apprenticeship frameworks, but others are more generic. We refer to these as employability skills.

What is Employability?

Employability is a nebulous subject, but one that is increasingly important for Training Providers. This section breaks employability down into four logical sections. Read this page if you would like the following:

a. An employability definition 

b. A summary of employability skills

c. Methods for measuring employability

Employability skills support for Training Providers
What is employability definition

An Employability Definition

Our employability definition is an employer-led view of the skills and abilities required to commence and continue successful employment. Commencing employment places both the employee and employer into a relationship that must be of mutual benefit. 

Definition of Employability

“A person’s qualifications, abilities, experiences and soft skills, taken together as a measure of one’s suitability for available employment and further career development.”

What Employers Want

On the subject of employability, most employers tell us that the basics matter. They describe employability in simple terms. Commonly, the following employability indicators are useful for reviewing applicants of apprenticeships and other vacancies:

 o Qualifications 

 o Abilities 

 o Experience

 o Soft Skills

Employability Indicators

Qualifications indicate academic achievement. They can also suggest the personal ability to learn and develop further.

Individual abilities can be learned in academic or vocational education.  qualifications. However, abilities may also be learned via personal interests such as DIY, sport or music.

Paid work experience or relevant volunteering is vitally important to employers. They want to know whether someone has the core aptitude, skills and personal attributes to offer reliable levels of commitment and performance in the workplace.

Soft skills include general attitude, personal presentation, communication and other skills we will revisit. 

These are the skills most refer to as employability skills. They are important to employers because they want to assess a new employee can succeed and grow in their organisation.

employability certificates


Employers generally specify minimum levels of academic and / or vocational qualification for applicants of new apprenticeships and other vacancies. This important employability measure is simple to assess.

Employers frequently specify two employability skills as most important:

 o Written communication

 o Numeracy

Assessment Method

Check qualification certificates for authenticity.


Abilities can be acquired in vocational education, work experience and volunteering. Abilities can also be learned by attending clubs or spending time pursuing personal interests.

There are too many abilities to mention, but they include serving different types of coffee, regular orienteering or playing competitive tennis.

Abilities are developed through a programme of activities, not from a single experience.

Assessment Method

Check qualifications, certificates of achievement, awards and personal portfolios.

Employability Skills Assessment
Employability work experience


Employers value relevant work experience. It tests all employability skills and can demonstrate prior interest in their field of work. They also value out of work experience, particularly in those cases where skills are transferable. 

Assessment Method

References can be supplied for most work experience, including volunteering.

Soft Skills

Employability lacks a commonly agreed definition. However, most employers do agree upon many employability skills. Some of these are not so much a skill as a character trait. Enthusiasm and Resilience are examples. However, these are combined with learned skills to define the individual and their general aptitude for work.

Some soft skills refer to a collection of personal attributes. Customer Service is one that includes diplomacy, listening and an interest in assisting or resolving a situation to the satisfaction of others. To define it in individual terms risks losing the purpose, the context or the application of this increasingly important soft skill.

Assessment Method

Some soft skills are more obvious than others. Outstanding and employable learners are easy to spot. However, determining a shortfall in employability skills and targeting support for individual learners or leaner groups is more challenging. Check out CVMinder HUB and its employability support module.

List of Soft Skills

Verbal communication

Personal presentation


Ability to work in a team

Ability to follow instructions

Customer Service

Timekeeping and Attendance


Setting goals / Ambition

Practical skills


Health and Safety awareness

Comfort with technology