Agency, expertise and working life skills - students’ conceptions of the generic competences required in the world of work

Sanna Brauer, Ilkka Ratinen, Kaisu Kumpulainen, Outi Kyrö-Ämmälä, Leena Nikander, Ilkka Väänänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Fundamental changes in working life highlight the demands on the co-operation between the educational sector and working life, that should contribute to students’ employability. In addition to discipline-specific expertise, the development of working life skills has received increasing attention when it comes to employment. Drawing on data from Finnish universities of applied sciences (n=5) and universities (n=3), this paper examines how students (n=380) value the generic competences needed in in the world of work. The study is based on European reforms of labour markets and educational structures. This paper adds to current discourses around employability by highlighting differences between students of universities and universities of applied sciences. The implications of this research suggest paying attention to the concepts of agency, expertise and working life skills as outlined in the integrative pedagogy model, as well as emphasising the requirement for soft skills and generic competences needed in working life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-54
JournalEuropean Journal of Education Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Field of science

  • General education

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