How to prepare graduates for employment: a toolkit


Our university graduates now face daunting pressures finding their desired careers in a rapidly changing job market. As the number of full-time undergraduate places at UK universities rose by 2 per cent in 2015, a City and Guilds report suggests that less than a third of roles will be available to graduates by the time they enter the jobs market. Whilst respondents remain optimistic that good exam results (58%) and going to university (39%) are the best route to a good career, economic modellers EMSI have analysed job market trends and predict significant shortfalls in the availability of job for those sought by young people. Several factors are shaping this dramatic shift, with technology driving companies towards greater automation, and globalisation and now Brexit changing the local and national availability of jobs.

This leaves young people, and increasingly the workforce as a whole, with difficult choices:

  • What skills are important in the new workplace?
  • How can they gain these and be able to demonstrate these effectively to employers?
  • And what can employers do to maintain a skilled and motivated workforce?


A major challenge in seeking to prepare graduates and employees for the emerging workplace is in attempting to predict what skills and abilities will be required. Traditional subject are being scrutinised by curriculum designers and prospective students alike to better understand what will produce the likeliest chance of employment. Similarly, employers are affected by skills shortages in some sectors through a lack of planning and foresight by education providers. These issues are resulting in many graduate recruiters medium to large companies resorting to applying own selection methods to identify talent over and above the now seemingly jaded degree classification.

So what can be done to give educators and trainers the tools to help young people identify, develop and present relevant skills and talents to future employers?

A new toolkit: Designing for future readiness

The good folk at PebblePad have produced a new suite of resources have been produced help organisations better prepare graduates and employers for the emerging world of work. The ‘Designing for future readiness‘ toolkit includes a collection of resources, activities and discussion topics for trainers and curriculum designs to use in their training plans. It covers the following learning themes:


Using the Toolkit

The resources have been designed to complement the use of PebblePad by academic and corporate practitioners, alongside professional courses and training programmes. PebblePad is a personal learning and assessment system used by many learning institutions across the UK, Australia and North America. It is used to help students and employees take greater ownership of their learning, providing intuitive tools to assist evidencing of practice and personal reflection, whilst allowing tutors to design activities, monitor progress, and provide continuous feedback/feedforward.

Course designers and trainers can use the resources to introduce work-focused thinking into new or existing programmes. The activities from each of the themes contains can be run as workshop sessions, or a self-directed activities. For PebblePad users they will help learners become more confident and purposeful owners of their PebblePad account. For non-PebblePad users, as the themes are applicable for all potential future employees, the activities may be adapted for other systems.

Further reading

Designing for Future Readiness: theme cards (PebblePad)

Future Ready case studies (PebblePad)

Great Expectations: Teenagers’ career aspirations versus the reality of the UK jobs market (CIPD)

Employee Spring 2016: Views of Working Life (CIPD)

Portfolio-thinking in degrees will prepare graduates for an increasingly competitive future (PebblePad)

PebblePad for professional organisations (PebblePad)