Employability-related activities beyond the curriculum: how participation and impact vary across diverse student cohorts

Publication Name

Higher Education


Higher education is increasingly concerned withproviding students with experiences that enhance employability. Sitting outsidethe curriculum, extra- or co-curricular activities that focus on career development,leadership, service or recognition can lead to positive employability andemployment outcomes. The extent to which different student groups have accessto and participate in these employability-related activities (ERAs) isunderexplored, along with their relative gains in the labour market. Thisresearch surveyed 84,000 graduates in Australia on their participation invarious activity types and the impact on their sense of preparedness for workand labour force outcomes. Findings demonstrate that over one-half ofrespondents participated in an ERA with groups tending to favour differentactivity types. Overall, the greatest differences in participation were observedby age, gender, disability, citizenship and socio-economic background. Activitiesimpacted differently on employment outcomes with graduates from regional areas,of low socio-economic status and with disability garnering strong benefits. Club/societyroles, leadership/award and mentoring programmes offered valuable developmentopportunities for most graduates, with less favourable outcomes reported forvolunteering and micro-credentials. The study provides important informationfor designing ERAs that can be more easily accessed by increasingly diversecohorts and that better support lifelong learning and transition to work forall students.

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