Apprenticeships are agreed periods of work-based training, usually full-time and paid (if not very highly). Apprentices often work towards a vocational qualification, and are generally in more hands-on roles.

Basic Skills

Also referred to as “generic”, “key” or “core” skills, basic skills are not specific to a particular job, but needed by most employers. Most graduate jobs require relatively high levels of the following basic skills: literacy, numeracy, basic IT skills, and good communication.

Co-operative Education

“Co-ops” are work placements provided for students through partnerships between a university and business or other organization. These are usually assessed, allowing students to gain course credits as well as an example of their employability skills.


According to a 2010 report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, employability is “the ability to be in employment, and, in particular, the set of characteristics that increase the chances of an individual being in work.” It may also include the ability to stay in employment, and progress up the career ladder.

Graduate Job

The term “graduate job” may refer to any job that requires a degree, or more specifically to a job that is part of a company’s graduate scheme – a formal training scheme, typically lasting one or two years.

Hard Skills

In contrast to “soft skills”, hard skills are not about interactions with people, but refer to an individual’s ability to complete technical and mental tasks – for example, being able to handle complex data, knowing how to use relevant software, or operating a machine.

Inclusive Growth

Inclusive growth is a concept that advances equitable opportunities for economic participants during economic growth with benefits incurred by every section of society.  This concept expands upon traditional economic growth models to include focus on the equity of health, human capital, environmental quality, social protection, and food security.


While often used interchangeably with “work experience” or “work placement”, an internship usually refers to a “white-collar” job. Internships are often paid and may last significantly longer than work experience placements.

Job Shadowing

This is a type of work experience which involves observing a professional going about his/her normal work routine, to get an idea of what the role is like.


A mentor is an experienced professional who is assigned to a “mentee” (less experienced) to advise him/her on how to achieve goals.


A young person who is no longer in the education system and who is not working or being trained for work.


A placement is a period of work experience often required part of a course, to help participants develop key employability skills and apply their course learning within a professional context. The person may or may not have a say in choosing the placement.

Progressive Employment

'Progressive' Employment is a relatively new concept, which says that people must not only be assisted in accessing and sustain employment, but should also be helped to progress within that work as their on-the-job skills grow or as further training is completed.

Soft Skills

Definitions vary, but generally soft skills are interpersonal – how good you are at getting on with people, communicating, making a good impression and the like. These are often at least equally as important as hard skills.

Start Up

A start-up is a new company, still in the early stages of development.

Transferable Skills

Skills gained in one type of role that can be transferred to another. For example, analyzing data as part of a qualification is a skill that could be transferred to many future jobs.

Work Experience

This refers to a period of work at a business in order to gain experience of that industry. Work experience may be paid or unpaid.

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