Back to main Careerpilot website

Higher Education

Employability Skills - why they are as important as qualifications?

Employers want people with employability skills as well as qualifications.

What skills do employers want?

There is quite a lot of debate about the skills that employers want from school leavers.

The CiPD identified the three top skills employers are looking for in a young person just starting out as:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Confidence

Employers are looking for people they can train to develop the skills required for the job but they need young people with general employability skills too, they want them to demonstrate these skills in their applications, at interviews and in the work role.

The CBI, went further and identified the following skills and attributes employers are looking for -  with a 'positive attitude' at the centre.


Young people already often have these skills

Most young people already have employability skills they can use in the workplace, but they might not know this, or recognise these skills in themselves. Young people need to understand which of these valuable skills they have and be able to explain how they have used these skills in real situations:


‘I used my communication skills in my part-time job, in a fast food restaurant when dealing with customers.’

‘For a project at school, I worked as part of a team to set up a charity event.’

Young people need to promote their skills on applications, at interviews and show they have them through their work role.

The Careerpilot Skills Profile can help young people identify which skills they have and to think of examples showing when they have used their skills.  

General employability skills can be developed - if the young person has the right attitude to the job, is willing to learn and take instructions.  As a parent you can help your child recognise the skills they already have and develop the sort of skills an employer would be looking for.  Ensure they understand why it is important to have these skills and to make a good impression.

Getting more information:

The Careerpilot Skills Profile, can help your child identify and articulate the skills he/she already has not just for Higher Education but also for employment.

Visit Barclays Life Skills Parent Zone to view YouTube videos explaining ways you can help your child to identify and develop their skills and view some do’s and don’ts with them:

A site for adults wanting to get back into learning

Take a look