The linkage between education and employability is widely discussed. While fresh graduates and parents wait with dreams jobs can only go to a skilled workforce.
That is also part of an economic cycle. The state wants more tax; the market wants people with purchasing power and the society at large wants skilled people for its progress.
The transition from campus to the office is not a smooth one, as gaps exist between industry expectations and what academia produces. Companies that hire from campuses have to train recruits hard before putting them on the job. In a sense, they are doing the unfinished job of the academic institutions.
The digital era powered by a new economic infrastructure has many innovations such as cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence propelling work to the “next to normal.” In the digital era, career success depends on the ability to adapt. This affects not the way people work, but also what skills to learn.
Curriculum mapping for heightened student employability is a trend. It also includes taking steps to align education institutions with the skill sets needed for the modern workforce. The curriculum maps address the closing of present-day gaps and empowering students to develop job-ready skills.
Fenwick W. English introduced the idea of mapping the curriculum in the 1970s that periodically guided many tends in teaching. It also included a shift of teaching away from a “coverage” approach to a focus on performance where students are prepared to apply their learning in varied situations.
In the current context of employability and skill-building with smart teaching to integrate skills in a good graduate in terms of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and innovation are too important parts of the curriculum.
Bridging the gap between education and work is a priority for all centres of learning including universities. They have to build the job skills necessary to thrive in this digital world.
There exists a gap in the skills of students and those seeking job advertisements in both technical and non-technical areas. This situation calls for long-term thinking and reviewing and mapping skills to go with the demand.
Mapping employability implies making the study course more job-focused and aligned to employers’ needs. That means course content must meet technical and non-technical skills. Job skills sought in job advertisements should be mapped onto the course content doing justice to the contemporary requirements.
Consulting an advisory panel of industry experts and inviting employers to sit on Course Advisory Panels will make the process meaningful and result-oriented.
In today’s time, before making students job-ready institutions have to acquire digital capabilities to keep pace with the accelerating technological change. Educators have to make sure training is viable for students for the skills of the future by devising programs that are job-ready.
For example, the curriculum for computer science can be revamped to prepare students for critical AI skills including enrolment in online courses. Similarly, business administration will be a launching pad to gain critical data analysis skills via online courses.
Many universities are taking innovative steps including the process of recommending online courses to be part of wider curricula with extra credit for working on multidisciplinary electives. Such blended learning supports students in the job hunt and skill sets to match many roles. Embedding supplementary content with the core curriculum adds many forward-thinking programs in scaling up.
Improved employment outcomes for graduates can be augmented by assisting on emerging skills. That will benefit stakeholders within the education domain and beyond.
Research says the employability skills of graduates in various fields differ. There is a perception that many courses have a skewed focus on graduate employability skills by employers, especially in business and management.
Many universities are also encouraging soft skills or employability skills along with core skills, personal qualities, and values in workplaces. Among the enterprise skills, communication or workplace skills matter the most. The following are an important part of it.
Educational institutions boosting employability skills have to offer lots of participatory activities in the following areas.
This is because, outside the campus, employers value a rich portfolio. Skills such as time management and organisational skills go a long way in securing a higher ranking in job interviews.
Interpersonal skills: Management jobs require successful relationship building. To lead a team it earning the respect of colleagues is important. Sparing more time to know team members on a personal and professional level without losing professional boundaries brews respect.
Communication and motivation: Master all forms of communication including written, verbal, and listening skills. Time planning is not just focusing on the day's tasks but planning for the future as well. Also, offer opportunities for creative thinking with innovative solutions that minimise the impact on the team and the business as a whole.
Also, inculcate commercial awareness that the majority of graduates lack. Those who want to grow in management jobs must have an understanding of the marketplace where a business operates.
These competencies have to be built, learned, honed, and nurtured through several activities.
Also, offer experience in leadership roles while in the university. Join sports teams and become the captain later or chair a pre-existing club. Represent the student body as a student union leader. Fight student elections and join extra-curricular activities can help.
Graduate students should also take part in industry internships. It makes CVs great and provides a first-hand glimpse of how teams work. It is also a great way to build skills and bolster confidence as internships provide useful contacts to secure jobs in the future.
Catch them early is the right approach. Encourage students to go for part-time employment and help them earn experience in positions of responsibility. This will also give the awareness and talent to balance work and study.