‘Skills for employability? No need thanks, we’re radiographers!’

Keren Williamson


Graduate healthcare professionals are facing increasing competition for jobs and where the baseline qualification is common to all applicants, the need to ‘stand out from the crowd’ becomes of particular significance. The dilemma for higher education institutions (HEI) that provide education for the healthcare professions (hcp) is that the skills and attributes for those professions are specific and identified within regulatory and professional standards. These standards mould the curriculum requirements for hcp education whereas generic skills for employability are largely left to HEIs to interpret and embed within a curriculum that is already full in ensuring that professional competencies are achieved. Within this study, radiography and radiotherapy managers from a range of healthcare providers were asked to define and rank their top 5 employability skills and to identify how they would test for these in job applicants.
Alongside this, the expectations and perceptions of employability of a cohort of final year undergraduate radiography students at one university were explored and it was found that while students acknowledged the need for employability skills, they considered these to be integrated into their degree programme. Following on from this, students were invited to attend and evaluate a series of employability skills development sessions. Findings further suggested that student radiographers are ill equipped to recognise the skills and attributes for employability valued by employers as a discriminator of applicants for band 5 radiographer jobs. The value of the skills development opportunities offered to this cohort was acknowledged but they recommended that sessions are offered earlier in the course.

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