You wish your parents are so connected they could get you a job in a jiffy. Yes, many graduates sit at home hoping their parents will get them the job.
In today's world, it is not easy. You are competing with many others to get the job. Unless you stand out, employers will not even give you a second look.
I knew of a young graduate who started selling bank credit cards which he found so boring but it was in one of his sales pitch that his current employer noticed him. This employer was filling up his car with gas, his pregnant wife waiting in the car and this new graduate started his pitch.
The employer was far from interested. He has a basket of credit cards already in his possession. He didn't need one but this new graduate engaged him so well that he ended up giving him his business card and told him to see him.
So, how do you stand out so employers notice you? Here are 5 ways:
1. Know what employers look for. Each employer is different. He is looking for certain fir to what he has going right now. This is where your emotional intelligence will make a difference. Do you have this? If not, time to put aside that smart phone and make yourself smart. Look at people who have much of this and find out the attributes they have developed in themselves. Practice this until you feel you have the attributes yourself.
2. Be clear about the skills you have. If they are not up to a point to make you stand out in a skills competition, hone these. There are many courses online and most of these are free.
3. What about your communication skills? Do you find yourself whining most of the time? Cut it out. Again, practice. Start by looking at yourself in the mirror and see how you communicate. You can video yourself so you see better how you go about talking to other people, how you ask questions, how you negotiate, how you connect with people in gatherings. Or, ask people close to you who are willing to give you feedback. Honest feedback. Change whatever is offensive to people. When you hear yourself putting down other people, saying negative things to discourage others or to put them down or you hear yourself complaining, sneering at what others say, take note and change your patterns of conversation, discussion, participation. Remember, people like being around with those who make them feel good about themselves. Simple!
4. Do you take the initiative to solve problems or do you ignore the problem and leave it to others to find the solution or to take action. It is in simple things. When something needs tone done in your place, do you take the initiative to do it or have it resolved? Do you find solutions when there is a problem or do you leave that to others? Yes, taking the lead is important for employers. They need problem solvers not those who give them more problems or bring every problem to the Boss. Work on your leadership skills and your problem solving capacity.
5. Do you know how to fit in? Or, do you take every step to make people feel you are different or you have special needs or you don't really like anything they have? Do you try to taste food they share with you? Do you sit and hang out with them? Or, do you keep to yourself and not join in? You do stand out this way, as well but that kind is not what employers would want in his/her team.
Don't wait until graduation to do these things. Develop your leadership skills, interpersonal and communication skills, your problem solving capacity and you'll stand out when the time comes to look for a job. Remember, 10000 hours.
As we look around, there is a scramble by most governments in developing countries to put investments in skills development/TVET institutions having realized that the only way their country can attract new investments, expand existing industry and be competitive in the global market is by up-skilling their work force.
These investments are tackling several areas and work is hectic to improve not just the building and equipment but also curriculum, learning materials, standards, teacher training and student assessment. The scramble in the developed world while different, is just as hectic as precision manufacturing combined with surging drive for increased productivity puts the "big guys" in a world wide struggle.
Do we see a major impact as a result of these investments? Absolutely! In the developing world, the buildings are being modernized and new equipment is rolling in. The consultants have left a library of new standards, learning materials, teacher and student assessment instruments. Policies and strategies are in place. The frustration is that not many students flock to the new buildings. The computers and other equipment are not used to capacity and the plaintive crys of business and industry keep mounting that they cannot get the skills they need. Why?
In response to this, some funders have moved towards a much more active participation by the private sector in skills development. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are taking on a central role in TVET in many countries, supplying services which Government either cannot provide or is ineffective at providing itself. Besides, let's be realistic.
As this develops, the role of Government changes. Working with Industry, develop national skills policy that ensures international training standards while rolling out an industry driven skills assessment service to ensure that everyone, regardless of how they were trained, can achieve certification of competence.
Making sure the system is accessible to all and that the poor can receive support to get into the certified competence race is a basic Government function. The Industry involvement in training must grow as the Government accountability for consistency, quality and accessibility becomes stronger.
Skills Development must be a partnership or everyone loses.
Do share your thoughts or experience in the Comments below.
"Inventor Sir James Dyson is to open his own institute to train engineers, who he says are badly needed if UK companies are to remain competitive." Dyson is not the only one complaining. Many other industry leaders in different countries have said exactly the same thing. In the Philippines, business tycoon Gokongwei has long ago set up his own Institute and has been recruiting engineering graduates to be trained as technicians to staff his Industry needs.
The Dyson Institute of Technology, opening in autumn 2017, will create home-grown talent as UK needs another 1 million engineers by 2020 with software, hardware and electronics skills.
The £15m institute will be based at Dyson's campus in Malmesbury in Wiltshire and will offer a four-year engineering degree in partnership with the University of Warwick.
Industry is presently taking the initiative that TVET Colleges and Institutes have failed to respond. Unless Industry needs are met by the existing training institutions, Industry will looks for other options. The Garments Manufacturers Association in Cambodia has also made preparations for establishing its own school.
In developed economies, the partnerships between Industry and TVET has been going on and has been feeling their skills needs. Time for TVET planners in emerging economies to put traction to the rhetoric of Public-Private Partnership.
Read more on this here:
Recently, I heard a story from one of the NGOs working in Cambodia about a trafficked Cambodian expelled by the Thai police. Sadly, this man had lost his past, forgotten about his village as he had been taken from there when he was so young. He was transferred from one place to the next and possibly injured as his thinking was very confused.
He had never been out of that village before he was trafficked so he had no memory of his province or of the world around his tiny commune. And given the changes that have taken place both in Cambodia and in him, he is not able to help identify his province, let alone his village. He could not remember his family. Was it amnesia or some injury? The police first brought him to the hospital close to the border and hoped that once he has recovered and rested, he would be better able to locate his family.
This story is only one of the sad tales of thousands of young boys and girls trafficked from remote villages to work in other countries, often in risky, exploitative and low paying jobs. We are only beginning to open our eyes to the horrors of human trafficking but in this sad land, it has been going on for decades.
How can Skills development/TVET help? TVET can offer key interventions in helping kids before entering the workforce to have skills that will land them better paying jobs.
Often, in many remote villages poor kids have to start work the moment they are strong enough to work on the farm or as help in households. Because of this, they leave school early without basic skills and end up in low paying jobs because of lack of knowledge, they often open themselves to abuse. And hundreds of thousands must drop out after grade 5 or 6 because their work is needed to support the family on the farm or there is simply not enough money to buy the learning materials from the teachers!
As many of them need to work to help the family eat, other non formal ways of giving them skills must be developed have and implemented.
How can this be done? Before the recent growth in technology, this was almost impossible. Today, a new world of opportunities to develp highly accessible solutions is opening up. Education planners have to take the plunge and use the latest technology to reach these kids who have to work to feed their families. Traditional education systems are focused on the children who can stay in school and this takes all their energy and resources.
But look at these numbers. They show the masses of young people who leave the education system before the usual entry level for TVET training.
How do we set up systems that reach out to these millions (yes, millions) of kids to give them skills to earn a living at home instead of hopelessly looking for decent work across the border? Or, if they choose to, go into jobs that are better paid and not be victims of exploitation.
Not much is offered now and it seems the greater the need, the less the opportunity.
We, of course, are much aware of the inability of many governments to act on this issue. The challenge is to private providers, social enterprises or non-government groups to respond to this need. If governments can do this, the better. So far, the offering of online high school vocational education yields only one country offering such: Turkey. The UFM eUniversity in Guatemala is reaching out to Spanish speaking people all over the world to take some online courses on skills. Here is a sample of an online high school vocational diploma with concentration on carpentry.
These are important steps that must be taken by more institutions and governments so the adverse effects of human trafficking can be alleviated. A pilot village based Skills bridging program has been developed in Cambodia thanks to the ADB, but it now waits government funds for full implementation. The point is, there are answers. And without skills, the “voluntary” traffiking industry will grow in proportion to the unskilled drop outs and abused workers kids will end up in hospitals wondering what happened to the dream
At the pinnacle of Education, we have the Harvards, the Oxfords, the UFTs and Laussane but in the real world, we have the streets. I'm not talking about life's hard learned lessons, emergent pickpockets and fruit thieves. We're talking about 75% of the skilled tradesmen of the world's emerging economies.
It's always been this way. Jesus never went near a local community college. He worked at home with his Dad and learned to be a carpenter. Bill Gates learned in his garage pretty much by himself.
When you look at these pictures, you'll see street-based learning that focuses on one outcome: Can the kid do the job? Can he cut the gear? Can he fix the computer? Can she weld the seam? Can the car start?
It's really simple. You graduate when you can do the job. It's true. They'll probably get their ears boxed once a week and they very well might sleep in the shop but you'll find more broken air conditioners on the curbs of Chicago than you'll find in Siem Reap.
So, while the education community does its best to destroy the world's oldest and apparently most effective learning system, the developing world is getting along just fine in the maintenance of every doo-dad, gee-gaw and appliance that we can dream up. Maybe, we should help improve street learning and stop building technical colleges that really don't achieve very much. What do you think?
After spending millions on NQF and Standards and all the "stuff" to have homogenized TVET, is there any evidence at all that employers are the slightest bit happier with our graduates? All I hear is the continued plea for reasonable soft skills (employability skills) including good computer competence. Most employers are happy to train whatever workforce they need themselves when kids meet the basic literacy requirements. When new factories open, they hire and train themselves often moving some skilled workers from other factories as trainers or role models.
Far better to pay employers to take apprentices where a higher level skills package is needed than to fund schools that teach about a skill, rarely to actually practice the skill.
We have fixed traditions in education. The needs of the next level up are set by the professors who teach that level. It really makes sense for a system focused on the cultural development of 19th century English gentlemen but it has almost nothing to do with getting kids ready for employment.
As an example, the aerospace industry is exploding right now. Employment is skyrocketing but not necessarily in total numbers of employees. What then? Productivity of the labour force is a key factor and the skills of the future are critical business understanding of the massive airframe and engine building companies. Let's go ask them what they'll need 3 years out...5 years out and much beyond that is dreaming a bit.
Take the same model to information technology. "Who you gonna call?" Microsoft? Google? Facebook? Amazon? Spend as much time identifying the skills they need as they do the new technologies they will pursue. Let's ask them.
Now apply this model to a whole range of employment areas that we have in the world today. And we don't ask once a year. We ask relentlessly and share the information. Will the major employers help?
If they can see a reasonable link between proposed education and their employment needs they'll be right with you. If they see a group of institutions simply trying to promote their academic version of what maybe needed, they'll quickly be eating lunch in someone else's restaurant. This is just business. It's not alumni rah rah rah. It's not the morality of nationhood. It's not indebtedness to future generations. It's skills, a pure business issue.
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