Fine-tune your skills

Fine-tune your skills

SPECIALISED TRAINING

Fine-tune your skills

SPECIALISED TRAINING Today’s graduates perform well academically and technically, but when they enter the job market, they fail to gain employment. The reason is a lack of employable qualities. To fill-up this lacuna, a breed of institutes have come up in the name of finishing schools, which focus on making the candidates more employment-ready.

A finishing school is a supplementary training school. This concept is popular in western countries. It has now entered India to provide specialised training for a specific job in a specific sector.

Currently, India produces close to five lakh technical graduates, nearly 2.3 million other graduates and over 2 lakh post-graduates every year through the 347 institutes of higher education and 16,886 colleges, making that a total enrolment of over 9.9 million.

Of these figures, approximately only about 30 per cent are employable says Kavita Jain, Expert and Career Counselor and Coach of JCI, University USA. “It is mainly due to a lack of communication and presentation skills,” she adds.

Many recruiters believe that Indians have some of the world’s best educated engineers, business majors and technology wizards, but they lack social polish and communication skills. They don’t know how to express themselves. Adds Kavita, “Without expression, there is no impression.”

If an executive does not perform at an important international meeting, it is not just a reflection of the person, but it hurts the company and hurts India also. Thus, counsellors say that today’s students are like diamonds; their base value multiplies a hundred fold, when they are polished with soft skills.

The problem of communication and presentation skills is not restricted to any particular geographical area. The skill crisis is found not only in freshers but also in working professionals (looking for better jobs) across cities, towns and rural India. The reason is that most candidates coming from the middle class are first generation professionals in their family.

The curriculum, prepared by finishing schools is according to the need of the candidate and based on the type of job he/she is to be placed in. The training in soft skills, shapes, tones up, refines, mellows and fine-tunes a professional — to be sophisticated.

It cover topics like leadership skills, communication skills, business-etiquette skills, customer-service skills, time management skills, presentation skills, public-speaking skills, marketing skills, telephone -etiquette skills, etc. The teaching methodology adopted is radically different from what candidates experience in school and college.

Audio-video technology, mentoring sessions, role-play, industry-oriented projects and internships are some of the elements of training. The duration of a programme can range between three days to one year. The biggest advantage of these schools is that they cut down  the ‘deployable time’ for a company. They make a person ready to face the challenges of his profession or career.

The corporate sector — service, IT, ITES, BSFI, hospitality and retail — look after soft skills which include effective communication (written and verbal), critical thinking, professional networking abilities, corporate awareness, sales and customer service, the ability to think on your feet, and a polished appearance.

Choosing the right school Institutes offer a promising mix of a ‘job-ready’ curriculum and an effective placement effort. But, before joining any finishing school, take stock of your employable quotient. Many schools conduct primary aptitude tests for a candidate to assess the level of knowledge, talent and skill to plan for the required training areas.

Several finishing schools have mushroomed across the country with job guarantees. No sudden and quick decisions must be taken based on these promises. It is better to compare the norms of one such school to that of the other. The following steps will help you select a good finishing school. So choose wisely.

*Compare two or three school curriculums and go through the information booklets thoroughly.
*Look up the qualifications of the faculty. One must look for trainers with 5-10 years of experience rather than those who have barely 2-3 years of experience.
*Enquire about the corporates associated with the management, as well as the typical job profiles they recruit for.
*Ask for specific details on placement procedures. Complete information about placements — the companies visited for interviews, how many interviews have been conducted until now, and many more are to be checked must be scrutinised.  
*It is better to enquire whether there are multi-language faculties if the student is not familiar with the English language.
*The total number of students in a class, in each batch of training, should not exceed 25 candidates.
 
The success of getting a job in a reputed company depends  on how one can perform in the interview and not with the name of the finishing school.

Initiatives

Having considered the importance of soft skills, the Central and the State Governments, corporates and non-government organisations have taken the initiative to establish finishing schools with specific objectives.

Nasscom launched finishing school courses at its seven National Institutes of Technology and at IIT-Roorkee.

The Karnataka government established 12 biotechnology finishing schools in eight districts in September 2011. Admission is limited to 15 candidates for each school. The selection of the candidate is based on an online examination, followed by a personal interview.

Based on their scores and their preferences, students are placed in any one of the eight domains offered by the finishing schools.

Ecole Solitaire is India’s first residential finishing school and international corporate training consultancy to offer training in specialised soft skills to corporates, educational institutions and individuals.

Corporate giant Infosys built a Global Education Center at Mysore, to provide training on soft skills to college-level faculty members, who in turn train their students and make them “industry-ready” when they graduate.

Tata Consultancy Services, the country’s largest information technology company, has an in-house training centre in collaboration with the government to help economically-disadvantaged students improve their office and leadership skills.

There are many institutions  in metropolitan cities that offer tailor-made programmes on personality development, effective public speaking, cross culture management, executive etiquette, humour in business, human value systems, etc.

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