BEYOND EMPLOYABILITY: EMBEDDING SOFT SKILLS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Today, higher education institutions are being evaluated by the manners in which they react to the social and economic needs of society, that is, how they are expediting social mobility and wider access to higher education, hence this leads to their actions to enhance graduate employability. Therefore, this research was designed to examine the 34 lecturers who joined a workshop related to how they are transferring soft skills and sharing their experiences of their instructional activities. These 34 lecturers are eligible participants who have fulfilled the criteria given by Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop comprising of 20 Thai, 13 United Kingdom, and one Vietnamese. A qualitative interview research method was employed. An interview protocol was used as an instrument to explore the key ideas from these participants on how to embed soft skills in detail to enhance graduate employability. Results of the study revealed that most of the higher education institutions have been facing the challenges head-on, rethinking the role of career services, academics, and even support services in boosting employability. In addition, results also indicated that in the United Kingdom higher education system has been emphasized on the vital importance of non-academic skills to employability. Besides, participants have highlighted a list of soft skills that graduates should possess and it seemed that the place where these skills will most often be instructed is in the lecture theatre, the tutorial room or the study group. Those soft skills are depending on how lecturers to ensure that they are embedded these soft skills in their course design and delivery.