Lots of times, I have thought about the nature, quality and depth of the education and training we get from our educational programs and really wondered if we are not being limited to operating locally.
I have met a lot of internship students from all over the world, and I have watched them do what they do and how they do it. Goodness, my personal doubts play havoc with me as I watch them operate. Do we (students) even learn or do we simply attend class?
How much in skills do we really get from our education? Is it because I was a “fantome”- a Butare University acronym for a student that didn’t attend class? No!
At the end of the 5 years, how ready are we, students and graduates, in terms of having job readiness skills or employability skills -clustered into three skill sets: basic academic skills, higher order think-ing skills and personal qualities)? Not much would be the genuine answer.
So what is it going to be then? The two greatest concerns of employers today are finding good workers and training them.
The difference between the skills needed on the job and those possessed by applicants, sometimes called the skills-gap, is of real concern to human resource managers and business owners looking to hire competent employees.
While employers would prefer to hire people who are trained and ready to go to work, they are usually willing to provide the specialized, job specific training necessary for those lacking such skills. Most discussions concerning today’s workforce eventually turn to employability skills.
Finding workers who have employability or job readiness skills that help them fit into and remain in the work environment is a real problem.
Employers need reliable, responsible workers who can solve problems and who have the social skills and attitudes to work together with other workers.
Creativity, once a trait avoided by employers who used a cookie cutter system, is now prized among employers who are trying to create the empowered, high performance workforce needed for competitiveness in today’s marketplace.
Employees with these skills are in demand and are considered valuable human capital assets to companies.
Employability skills are those basic skills necessary for getting, keeping, and doing well on a job.
These are the skills, attitudes and actions that enable workers to get along with their fellow workers and supervisors and to make sound, critical decisions.
Skills required not only to gain employment, but also to progress within an enterprise so as to achieve one’s potential and contribute successfully to enterprise strategic directions”.
Employability skills are also sometimes referred to as generic skills, capabilities or key competencies.Unlike occupational or technical skills, employability skills are generic in nature rather than job specific and cut across all industry types, business sizees, and job levels from the entry level.
These skills can be grouped into eight categories:
• Communication: skills that contribute to productive and harmonious relations between employees and customers
• team work: skills that contribute to productive working relationships and outcomes
• problem-solving skills that contribute to productive outcomes
• initiative and enterprise skills that contribute to innovative outcomes
• planning and organising skills that contribute to long-term and short-term strategic planning
• self-management skills that contribute to employee satisfaction and growth;
• learning skills that contribute to ongoing improvement and expansion in employee and company operations and outcomes
• technology skills that contribute to effective execution of tasks
Although we have been talking about skills as a part of the collection of qualities that combine to make you an individual, this does not mean that these skills are as fixed as your height, or as difficult to change as the shape of your nose.
(Personal) skills can be acquired, developed and improved, however your interests may also influence the skills that you choose to develop.