Employability & Enterprise

Enhancing Careers Services for English Students

Enhancing Careers Services for English Students

“Employers value the skills in critical thinking, communication and analysis that English graduates usually possess, but our students tend to underestimate the relevance of these skills to the workplace.”


It is a commonly held view within our subject community that employability is another demand on scarce time and that it cannot be a significant priority. However, the Subject Centre’s view of employability is that it is a set of achievements – not only skills, but also understandings and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations. These are achievements that most academics either value in their own right or are necessary for academic success.

More prosaically, employability is being associated with widening participation. English is a non-vocational subject so must emphasise the fact that the employment prospects for English graduates are very good. We have compiled a list of some high achieving English graduates to help convince others of the case. It is noticeable, too, that the sorts of actions to enhance student claims to employability are similar to those that many higher education institutions are taking to improve retention and which they highlight in their teaching and learning strategies.

The resources on these web pages are designed to give an overview of what employability is all about, to illustrate how colleagues in the discipline have addressed employability issues and to resources to inspire and support your own initiatives. Use the panel on the left to read an overview of employability issues (Employability – Why bother?) or look at some of the materials from employability events and employability projects on this topic. Of particular note are the projects we have supported within Careers Services to enhance their provision for English students. You may also be interested in a video we have produced entitled ‘A Way with Words – Creativity, Enterprise and the English Graduate’ profiling eight enterprising English graduates. You can view the video on our Enterprise page.

Several of the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning had a focus on employability.  More information about those related to English can be found on our Centres for Excellence in Teaching & Learning pages.