Employers need authentic evidence of potential employees' transferable capabilities.

The frequency with which people changes jobs is increasing, and employees are moving between sectors and industries as well. As a result, capabilities that are transferable from one job to the next are increasingly important for employees. For those making hiring decisions, it will become necessary to hire experienced people from outside the specific sector. But how do employers know what capabilities a job applicant has, and whether those capabilities really are transferable across sectors?

Our major multi-disciplinary Learner Capability research project is now in its final stages. We have now incorporated the findings from last year's surveys conducted by Senior Lecturer Michael Greaves, of Otago Southland Employers Association members and employers of Kokiri Training Centre graduates. The research has validated our list of 26 capabilities but also highlighted the different ways in which those capabilities are understood and applied in different employment contexts. Part of the answer is for students to gather and produce evidence that they have used capabilities effectively in more than one context, to demonstrate their ability to successfully transfer those capabilities to new contexts. 

We're continuing to implement the results in Otago Polytechnic programmes, so that our graduates increasingly leave with authentic evidence of transferable capabilities that will improve their employability. We're also working with Ako Aotearoa, which funded the research, to enable other educational institutions to similarly equip their graduates to help meet New Zealand employers' needs.

March 2022