Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Graduate Employability: What Employers Really Want

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Graduate Employability: What Employers Really Want

Article excerpt

One of Agricultural Education's most visible outcome is the employability skills of our graduates. Yes, as teachers of agriculture, we have spent sometimes up to four or five years developing each individual student for a career. The measurement of that development is the ultimate employment of the graduate. I would agree that this is a very "vocational" mentality, and a mentality that I do not agree with in its entirety, however it is reality. It is how success is "measured" in Career and Technical Education.

The practice within Agricultural Education has been to embed skills development within the curriculum and to prepare and promote the employability of our students to ensure career success. In fact, part of the FFA mission statement includes the words "career success."

One of the key findings from most of the research on career development, is that there is a considerable alignment between the employability skills and good student learning. Therefore, it is important to stress that much that has taken place in high school agricultural programs over the years has supported the promotion of employability and career success - and that will be a continuing feature of the Agricultural Education landscape.

It is clear that in Agricultural Education, students are offered many opportunities to develop their employability skills alongside their subject knowledge. Examples of this would be the use of oral communication skills developed through most of the FFA related events, the growing use of group and project work where team working and problem solving skills are developed, the use of learning journals and reflective work, particularly in relation to placement, and allowing students to identify personal qualities and experiences which may contribute to their understanding of what career options they want to pursue after graduation.

It is critical that teachers of agriculture, at all levels of the curriculum (middle and high school and post-secondary), provide a framework for students to attain the skills they will need to use to support their academic learning, as well as developing employability skills. …

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