The need to enhance the employability competences (knowledge, skills, autonomy, and attitudes) of undergraduates in Agriculture. Evidence from students’ perceptions and employers’ expectations

  • Nigel Yoven Armoogum University of Mauritius, Mauritius
  • Brinda Ramasawmy University of Mauritius, Mauritius
  • Brigitte Marie Françoise Driver University of Mauritius, Mauritius
Keywords: undergraduate, agriculture, employability, generic and subject specific competences (knowledge, skills and autonomy and responsibility), curriculum mapping


The Faculty of Agriculture (FoA) (University of Mauritius) is the only tertiary Education Institution in the country providing graduate training in Agriculture with an annual enrolment of about 100-125 students. Although the relative contribution of the Agricultural sector to the economy has declined over the past decade — share to GDP: 3.0% in 2014 as compared to 6.4% in 2004[1] the introduction of new schemes in support of Bio- Farming, food processing and value-addition will attract new entrepreneurs to Agriculture. This transformation in the Agriculture sector will create new job opportunities, but has to leverage on skilled human capital. Graduates with good employability skills are of strategic importance to the FoA, in line with the government’s vision to develop a knowledge-based economy. This study aimed at mapping out the set of skills, understandings and personal attributes that will increase the job prospects of the fresh graduate from FoA in Agriculture. The main research question centred on the perceptions of employers, alumni and students of the FoA, concerning the most relevant competences for the Subject Area (key general and key subject specific competences), understandings and personal attributes, which enhance the employability of graduates in Agriculture. Using semi-structured interviews, the study explored and triangulated the perceptions from four key stakeholders’ perspectives, namely: a range of employers, Industry Placement Supervisors, alumni of the FoA and current students. Both quantitative and qualitative insights of the perceptions on the employability skills of FoA undergraduates were obtained from a wide range of employers from the private and public sector. An analysis of data from the interviews and responses was carried out using SPSS. The key attributes that were valued by the key stakeholders have been used to inform the ‘Employability Skills Subject Area Framework’, and the ‘Curriculum Mapping’, proposed for the degree of BSc (Hons) Agriscience and Technology of the FoA.

Published online: 30 November 2016

[1] “Digest of Agricultural Statistics Mauritius,” Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,


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Author Biographies

Nigel Yoven Armoogum, University of Mauritius, Mauritius

Graduate from the Faculty of Agriculture (FoA) of the University of Mauritius. He has completed a degree in BSc (Hons.) Agriscience and Technology, University of Mauritius, Mauritius. He is a former FoA Representative where he contributed to the students’ life at the University. His undergraduate dissertation work was on the competences and skills that are required by the graduates of his Faculty to match the expectations of employers in terms of employability of young and fresh graduates. During his time at the FoA, he organised several talks and campaigns for the protection of the fauna and flora of Mauritius. He mentors freshers on how they can improve the delivery of knowledge and how they can boost up their skills and competences. He was on student placement at the National Plant Protection Office of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security where he worked to help in the proper export and import of agricultural commodities and also at the port and airport to make sure that all the phytosanitary measures during trading is respected. He plans to undertake a Masters in Agricultural Sciences and continue his PhD in sustainable Agriculture. Mail:

Brinda Ramasawmy, University of Mauritius, Mauritius

Lecturer in the area of agricultural economics and management in the Department of Agricultural Production and Systems at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius. She holds a PhD in Management Sciences (Sciences de Gestion) from Montpellier Sup Agro, France. Her field of research includes agricultural entrepreneurship, agribusiness, agri-food value chain analysis, agricultural marketing and consumer behaviour. She has a keen interest in competence-based learning with the main aim of enhancing the employability of graduates from the Faculty of Agriculture to be in line with the demands of the job market and the needs of the Mauritian economy. She is currently coordinating, at the level of the University of Mauritius, an EUfunded Intra-ACP mobility projects which aims at harmonising the teaching of agribusiness across universities in the African continent. She also actively creates a bridge between the Faculty of Agriculture and stakeholders in the public and private sector so that students can benefit from targeted industrial placements with the possibility of conducting their dissertation work in collaboration with the industry. She firmly believes in a student-centred pedagogical approach. Mail:

Brigitte Marie Françoise Driver, University of Mauritius, Mauritius

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius. She has a PhD (Animal Science; Massey University, New Zealand). She is a Senior African Research Fulbright Fellow. She undertakes research and teaching in basic and applied animal science and production. Her primary research areas involve: basic and applied ruminant nutrition, forage feeding value and the development of sustainable grazing systems; management of sustainable tropical animal production systems; safe food production of animal origin; innovative feed supplies for livestock production. Her research aims at improving the profitability of animal production systems in Mauritius. She has over 40 peer-reviewed papers, 4 book chapters, and is the co-editor of 2 books. She has supervised MSc and PhD students. Mail:


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How to Cite
Armoogum, Nigel Yoven, Brinda Ramasawmy, and Brigitte Marie Françoise Driver. 2016. “The Need to Enhance the Employability Competences (knowledge, Skills, Autonomy, and Attitudes) of Undergraduates in Agriculture. Evidence from students’ Perceptions and employers’ Expectations”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 4 (1), 169-219.