Nexus between soft skills and technical vocational education and training graduate employability

Omotayo Adewale Awodiji, Coleen Magogodi


Soft skills are increasingly seen as being crucial for the modern workforce due to the rapid and pervasive digitalisation that has transformed the nature of employment. To work with new technologies and stay up with the rapid changes in technology, graduates require employability skills. Despite the growing demand there remains a shortage of employability skills, organisations frequently struggle to identify qualified candidates for digital jobs because workforces frequently lack the skills necessary to manage digital change. Soft skills became more important as the pace of world of work moved online. Meanwhile, the role of TVET in job creation cannot be over emphasised in the changing world. Thus, the study examined how soft skills can enhance TVET graduates’ employability. Study participants included 351 students from Botswana TVET schools. To better understand how soft skills relate to TVET graduates' employability, we used STATA software to establish the correlation between the two variables. The result indicated that soft skills promote TVET graduates' employability. Hence, all TVET administrators should keep up-to-date with this present model so that they can design policies that promote employability for TVET graduates.


communication skills, graduate employability, leadership skills, soft skills, TVET

Full Text:



Acharya, A S, Prakash, A, Saxena, P, & Nigam, A (2013) Sampling: Why and how of it. Indian Journal of Medical Specialties, 4(2): 330-333.

Al Asefer, M I, & Zainal Abidin, N S (2021) Soft skills and graduates’ employability in the 21st century from employers’ perspectives: a review of literature. International Journal of Infrastructure Research and Management, 9 (2): 44 - 59.

Alharahsheh, H H & Pius, A (2020) A review of key paradigms: Positivism VS interpretivism. Global Academic Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(3): 39-43. DOI: 10.36348/gajhss.2020.v02i03.001

Aliyu, A A, Bello, M U, Kasim, R & Martin, D (2014) Positivist and non-positivist paradigm in social science research: Conflicting paradigms or perfect partners. Journal of Management & Sustainability, 4(3): 79-95.

Audu, R, Kamin Y B, & Balash, F (2013) Technical vocational education: As a veritable tool for eradicating youth unemployment. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 8(2): 10–17.

Azmi, I A G, Hashim, R C, & Yusoff, Y M (2018). The employability skills of Malaysian University Students. International Journal of Modern Trends in Social Sciences, 1(3): 01–14.

Baker, G & Henson, D (2010) Promoting employability skills development in a research-intensive university. Education and Training, 52: 62–75. https://doi: 10.1108/00400911011017681.

Behle, H (2020) Students’ and graduates’ employability. A framework to classify &measure employability gain. Policy Reviews in Higher Education, 4(1): 105-130.

Billing, D (2003) Generic cognitive abilities in higher education: An international analysis of skills sought by stakeholders. Compare, 33(3): 335-350.

Chaka, C (2020) Skills, competencies and literacies attributed to 4IR/Industry 4.0: Scoping review. IFLA Journal, 46(4): 369-399.

Chitema, D D (2021) Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Botswana. In: KS Adeyemo: The Education Systems of Africa. Cham: Springer International Publishing, p. 371–389

Ciappei, C & Cinque, M (2014) Soft skills per il governo dell’agire, Franco Angeli, Milano.

Dean, S. A. & East, J. I. (2019) Soft Skills Needed for the 21st-Century Workforce. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 18(1): 17–32. http://doi/:10.5590/IJAMT.2019.18.1.02

Deloitte Access Economics (2017). Soft skills for business success, available at: content/dam/Deloitte/au/Documents/Economics/deloitte-au-economics-deakin-soft-skillsbusiness-success-170517.pdf .Accessed February 1, 2023.

Fahimirad, M, Nair, P K, Kotamjani, S S, Mahdinezhad, M, & Feng, J B (2019) Integration and development of employability skills into Malaysian higher education context: review of the literature. International Journal of Higher Education, 8(6): 26-35.

Floyd, J & Fowler, J R (2014) Survey research methods. 5th edition. Sage.

Glaser, E M (2017) Defining critical thinking. The International Center for the Assessment of Higher Order Thinking (ICAT, US)/Critical Thinking Community.

Glavin, K W, Haag, R A, & Forbes, L K (2017) Fostering career adaptability and resilience and promoting employability using life design counseling. Psychology of career adaptability, employability and resilience, 433-445.

Griffin, M, & Annulis, H (2013) Employability skills in practice: the case of manufacturing education in Mississippi. International Journal of Training and Development, 17(3): 221-232.

Harvey, L (2005) Embedding and integrating employability. New Directions for Institutional Research, (128): 13-28.

Hartanto, S., Lubis, S., & Rizal, F. (2017). Need and analysis of soft skills for students of the mechanical engineering department of vocational high school. International Journal of GEOMATE, 12(30): 156–159.

Heckman, J J & Kautz, T (2012) Hard evidence on soft skills. Journal of Labour Economics, 19(4): 451-464.

Hurrell, S A (2016) Rethinking the soft skills deficit blame game: Employers, skills withdrawal and the reporting of soft skills gaps. Journal of Human Relations, 69 (3): 605-628.

Ibrahim, R, Boerhannoeddin, A, & Bakare, K K (2017) The effect of soft skills and training methodology on employee performance. European Journal of Training and Development. 41(4): 388-406 doi/10.1108/EJTD-08-2016-0066

Jameson, A., Carthy, A., McGuinness, C., & McSweeney, F. (2016). Emotional intelligence and graduates – employers’ perspectives. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 228(0), 515–522. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.07.079

Kay, K. & Greenhill, V. (2011). Twenty-first century students need 21st-century skills. In G. Wan, D.M. Gut, Bringing Schools into the 21st century, Explorations of Educational Purpose 13. (pp. 41-65). New York: Springer.

Knight, P. & Page, A. (2007). The assessment of ‘wicked’ competences, Report to the Practice Based Professional Learning Centre, available at: The-assessment-ofwicked-competences.pdf .Accessed February 1, 2023.

Kumar, G., & Sharma, V. (2019, October). Emotional intelligence through soft skills for employability. In Proceedings of International Conference on Advancements in Computing & Management (ICACM).

Kruss, G. (2004). Employment and employability: Expectations of higher education responsiveness in South Africa. Journal of Education Policy, 19(6), 673-689.

Lavender, J. (2019). Soft skills for hard jobs. Journal of Continuing Education Topics and Issues, 21(2).

Legg-Jack, D. W. (2014). Employability skills of technical college graduates: A case for Government Technical College (GTC) in Ahoada Rivers State Nigeria [Doctoral dissertation].

Li, H., & Sun, Z. (2019). Study on the definition of college students’ employability. ITM Web of Conferences, 25(3).

Loseby, D. L. (2019). Critical Thinking Skills. CIPs Knowledge.

Lowden, K., S. Hall, D. D. Elliot, & J. Lewin. (2011). Employers’ Perceptions of the Employability Skills of New Graduates. London: Edge Foundation.

Majid, M, Z, A., Hussin, M., Norman, M, H., & Kasavan, S. (2020). The employability skills among students of public higher education institution in Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 16(1), 36-45.

Martin B, Villeneuve-Smith F, Marshall, L. & McKenzie, E. (2008). Employability skills explored. Holborn, London: Learning and Skills Network

Maree, K. (2017). The psychology of career adaptability, career resilience, and employability: A broad overview. Psychology of career adaptability, employability and resilience, 3-11.

Mayombe, C. (2021). Vocational education and training in Sub-Saharan Africa. Evidence informed practice for unemployed and disadvantaged youth. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

McQuaid, R.W. & Lindsay, C. (2005). The concept of employability. Urban Studies, 42, 197-219.

Mialhe, F. L., Moraes, K. L., Bado, F. M. R., Brasil, V. V., Sampaio, H. A. C., & Rebustini, F. (2021). Psychometric properties of the adapted instrument European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire short-short form. Revista latino-americana de enfermagem, 29, e3436.

Mugenda, O. M., & Mugenda, A. G. (2009). Research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches. 2nd Edition. Nairobi: Acts Press.

Nair, C. S., Pati, A. & Mertova., P. (2009). Re-engineering graduate skills-a case study. European Journal of Engineering Education, 34(2), 131-139.

Nugraha, H. D., Kencanasari, R. A. V. & Nuril, R. (2020). Employability skills in technical vocational education and training (TVET). Innovation of Vocational Technology Education, 16, 1‒10.

Oluwalola, F. K. & Awodiji, O. A., (2021). Linking soft skills to business education teachers’ job effectiveness in Ilorin metropolis secondary schools. Journal of Management and Business Education, 4(3), 259-274.

Okolie, U. C., & Asfa, M. Y. (2017). Human development and TVET dimensions. Technical education and vocational training in developing nations. Hershey, PA: IGI-Global International Publishers.

Okolie, U. C., Elom, E. N., Igwe, P. A., Nwajiuba, C. A., Binuomote, M. O., & Igu, N. (2020). How TVET teachers foster employability skills: Insights from developing countries. International Journal of Training Research, 18(3), 231-249.

Pallant, J. (2011). SPSS SURVIVAL MANUAL: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS 4th

Paolini, A. C. (2020). Social-Emotional Learning: Key to Career Readiness. Anatolian Journal of Education, 5(1), 125-134.

Pardo-Garcia, C., & Barac, M. (2020). Promoting employability in higher education: A case study on boosting entrepreneurship skills. Sustainability, 12(10), 4004.

Patacsil, F, F., & Tablatin, C, L, S. (2017). Exploring the importance of soft and hard skills as perceived by the internship students and industry gap analysis. Journal of Technology and Science Education, 7(3), 347-368.

Pheko, M. M. & Molefhe, K. (2017). Addressing employability challenges: A framework for improving the employability of graduates in Botswana. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 22(4), 455–469.

Republic-of-Botswana. (1997b). National Policy on Vocational Education and Training. Gaborone: Government Printers.

Rossier, J., Ginevra, M. C., Bollmann, G., & Nota, L. (2017). The importance of career adaptability, career resilience, and employability in designing a successful life. Psychology of career adaptability, employability and resilience, 65-82.

Rudhumbu, N. (2021). Implementation of the technical and vocational education and training curriculum in colleges in Botswana: Challenges, strategies and opportunities. International Journal of Training Research, 20(2), 160-177.

Saari, H. A., & Rashid, A. M. (2013). Competency level of employability skills among the apprentices of the National Dual Training System: A comparative analysis of industry perception by company status. International Journal of Education and Research, 1(11), 1–12.

Schmidt, S. J. (1999).Using writing to develop critical thinking skills. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, 43(4), 31-38.

Succi, C., & Canovi, M. (2020). Soft skills to enhance graduate employability: Comparing students and employers’ perceptions. Studies in Higher Education, 45(9), 1834-1847. .1080/03075079.2019.1585420

Tsaoussi, A. I. (2020). Using soft skills courses to inspire law teachers: a new methodology for a more humanistic legal education. The Law Teacher, 54(1), 1-30.

UKEssays. (November 2018). Theory of employability. Retrieved from

UNESCO (2022). UNESCO strategy 2022-2029. Transforming TVET for successful and just transitions.UNESCO

UNESCO-UNEVOC. (2012). World TVET-Database: Botswana. Bonn. Retrieved from

Wise, K, Ownsworth, T, & Fleming, J (2005) Convergent validity of self-awareness measures and their association with employment outcome in adults following acquired brain injury. Brain Injury, 19(10): 765–775. doi:10.1080/0269905050019977

Yorke, M & Knight, PT (2004) Embedding employability into the curriculum. New York: The Higher Education Academy.

Yorke, M (2006) Employability in higher education: What it is– What it is not, learning and employability series 1, The Higher Education Academy, York.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 INVOTEC

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

Lisensi Creative Commons
This work is licensed under a Lisensi Creative Commons Atribusi-BerbagiSerupa 4.0 Internasional.

View My Stats