Over the last few decades, education has become a key focus of development in many societies. Education has been associated with employment and employment rates in many societies. However, occurrences such as technological advancements, conflicts and political changes have had considerable influences on employment globally. This suggest that education alone does not account for one’s success at getting employed.
In many parts of the world, education systems tend to focus on the acquisition of knowledge. This, in itself is not bad. However, this seems to be inadequate in preparing students for real-world challenges. Skills shortage has been identified as a major reason for entry-level vacancies in different economies. This indicates that although there may be vacancies in different sectors, graduates may not have the required skills to function well in those positions.
The obvious trends in the job market presents both the opportunity and challenge for graduates to unlearn, relearn and upgrade their skills. Such a step will facilitate their survival on the job market. Learning transferable skills (also referred to as soft skills, socio-emotional skills, life skills or 21st Century skills) is crucial for survival in the current labour market. These skills help graduates adapt to situations easily and help them navigate through various challenges. Some skills worth learning include:
- Communication– It is important that graduates learn to compose messages clearly and send them out using the best means and in the right manner. Owing to the growing use of teams in different organisations, communication skills are often highlighted as a desirable skill in many job advertisements lately. Without effective communication skills, one may not be able to function well in a team because one may not be able corporate well with other people. Again, one may not be able to get his ideas or messages across clearly which may result in one losing his relevance in the team.
- ICT Skills– There is an increasing demand for ICT skills across various industries. Technology is replacing most manual and mechanical jobs in the world of work. There is the need for graduates to learn or upgrade their ICT skills in order to meet the shortages on the market. Once graduates are able to level up their skills, they will be well-suited to occupy these new positions. Graduates must learn how to use a computer, access information on the internet and effectively use basic applications such Microsoft Office Suite.
- Creativity– Work is changing together with the world. Each day presents new challenges which calls for new solutions. Today, there is a high demand for creativity at work. Creativity and innovation causes businesses to thrive as many tried and tested method are no longer able to attain the same results in many fields. Organisations now value dynamic individuals who may be considered unconventional to take on positions in order to maintain their competitiveness in their industries.
Education alone may not be enough to prepare graduates for the job market. Graduates need to spend some time investing in themselves through ventures such as internships and volunteering in order to learn relevant work skills. There is also the need for educational institutions across the world to revisit their curriculums and include modules that will help students develop these work-relevant skills.
A few years ago, our previous workshop coordinator, who started out as a volunteer wrote a book detailing these and other 21st century skills in a book he used in a number of our workshops.
Here at GhScientific we offer members a number of workshops to get them started in developing these much needed skills. Sign up for membership today and see what is on offer for you.