Generic Skills & UTM Graduate Attributes


In line with UTM’s vision and mission statements, the University is committed to graduating competent, creative and versatile professionals who are guided by high moral and ethical values in the service of God and mankind. This will require graduates with sound disciplinary and professional knowledge, high self esteem and effective skills in communication, team working, problem solving and lifelong learning.

The University has therefore identified a range of attributes and generic skills which will enable our graduates to function effectively in a wide range of social and professional contexts. The development of these attributes will be embedded within the contexts of the students’ discipline or professional field.


What are generic skills?

Generic skills are the general skills, qualities, knowledge, abilities and traits that a person should possess to succeed in one’s studies and career. Such skills enable a person to function and contribute effectively in solving problems, communicating effectively, thinking critically and creatively, and acting as effective team members at work. Generic skills are also known in other foreign universities as ‘core skills’, ‘essential skills’ ‘employability skills’, ‘transferable skills’ and ‘trans-disciplinary’. Such skills, once acquired, are transferable to other areas of one’s social, academic and professional life.

Rapid changes since the early 1980s, especially in technology, manufacturing and marketing, ICT and worker mobility have resulted in an increasingly competitive borderless world. Industry however, does not have the luxury of time to train or retrain graduates. What is needed now is a dynamic and versatile pool of human resources from universities capable of fitting in quickly to meet the challenges and demands of the workplace. Graduates must be knowledgeable and technically competent with the right attitude, traits and skills. Thus, they need value-added generic skills that go beyond disciplinary knowledge. Specifically, generic skills are needed for the following reasons:

  1. The need to remain competitive
  2. The need to acquire new knowledge in a knowledge-based world
  3. The need to socialise and interact in an inter-dependent world
  4. The demands of the workplace
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The growing emphasis on the need for generic skills among graduates is partly a result of feedback from employers in industry. Among the skills highly valued by employers are:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Honesty/integrity/ ethics
  3. Teamwork skills
  4. Interpersonal skills
  5. Motivation/initiative/enthusiasm
  6. Capacity for critical and independent thinking
  7. Flexibility and adaptability
  8. Personal presentation and self confidence
  9. Professionalism
  10. Problem solving and creativity
  11. ICT skills


How are generic skills developed in UTM?

In UTM, generic skills will be developed through various in-class learning activities such as class discussions, group work, brainstorming sessions, presentation, role playing and apprenticeships. There will also be out-of-class activities such as project assignments, independent studies, field trips, site visits, community placements and industrial attachments. In addition to academic activities, campus and extra-curricular activities will also be organized to help students develop generic skills.

How can you contribute to the developement of your generic skills?

Generic skills cannot be developed overnight. You can enrich your generic skills by participating proactively in and out of classrooms, in co-curricular activities and through various informal contacts. You have to continuously seek opportunities to improve yourself through your daily activities and interaction with others.