Education vs. employability
Employability of available talent is a major concern across industries. Experts believe that this is mainly due to a disconnect between education and industry requirements. Experts are now calling for an effective revamp of the education and training systems to enhance employability
According to the Effective Education for Employment (EEE) study by Edexcel there is a remarkable mismatch between what is being taught in schools, colleges and universities and the knowledge, skills and behaviour businesses and organisations are looking for in new recruits. Ross Hall, Director of International Edexcel and co-author of the report, says “The most striking finding of the study was the consistency with which we heard calls for large scale reform, wherever we went. Many of the businesses we spoke to felt that education failed to effectively prepare individuals for the workplace. Even students felt that their education lacked relevance to the jobs they were hoping to apply for in the future.”
While the demand for large scale reforms in the education sector to match the expectation of industries is gaining prominence, how to equip people with the relevant skills they need is a serious concern for many. Dr Manas Fuloria, co founder & Executive Vice President, corporate development and strategy, Nagarro Software Pvt Ltd suggests that at school or college level, the focus of teaching should be more top down rather than bottom up. It should start with what does the person needs to know to do a good job rather than just going through the details of all the traditional subjects.
Train to gainBringing in drastic changes to the education system seems to take a long time, so many firms have implemented several training programmes to improve the quality of the available talent. Today there are various training programmes both within and outside firms, conducted independently by organisations or in partnership with various universities.
But experts say that training programmes must be designed in such a way as to motivate and improve the skills of a person. “A training programme must do three things - it must inspire and motivate and sell the importance of the skills, it should package the training in a memorable way, and it should have the person actually use the training in a simulated job environment,” opines Fuloria.
“The training programmes should be more work centric and they should be developed according to the needs of the work and the workplace. It is becoming increasingly apparent that it is behaviour which marks out the adaptability of a person in a workplace. So equal emphasis on specific skills as well as behaviours is desirable,” adds Claire Stuart, international marketing manager at Edexcel.
Equip yourselfAnd the success of a training programme lies in how much of it an employee could use effectively in his or her work life. Even though training programmes could help employees improve their skills and prepare themselves, experts say that personal effort is also crucial in enhancing employability. “A lot of the responsibility for ensuring employability falls on the shoulder of the student/jobseeker himself/herself. Today one can find so much information on search engines like Google about everything. So if a person want to learn how to run a project well or want to learn how to write good software, he/she can find volumes of information about it is largely free. What is needed is the motivation and focus to use it to develop skills,” says Fuloria.
According to the EEE study, employers in India have some specific requirements that they look for in job seekers which include traits like ability to work in a team, high aspirations, sense of responsibility, creativity etc. All these skills can be developed by training and practice. So even as discussions about a change in the curriculum and education systems to enhance employability, students or prospective employees must put in their own effort to master knowledge and skills, which they could obtain even without the help of anyone on the outside. This will surely help increase their value in a tough job market.