The skills that make you more employable

The skills that make you more employable

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The skills that make you more employable

The image of a small boy working with a huge hand saw cutting a big wooden log with an innocent grin, is etched in my memory. This boy was a carpenter’s son and he created beautiful furniture for our house. A carpenter’s son becoming a carpenter and merchant’s son becoming a merchant were very common in our town 30 years back.

Today, the aspirations have changed as parents want their children to become engineers, doctors, etc. However, to succeed in these professions, one needs to be equipped with the right skills and not just have the knowledge.

As per the National Employability Report – 2015, only 3.67% of the fresh engineers can be suitably employed in IT-product companies and only 6.56% of engineers can be employed in non-IT roles. Reasons for such an abysmal employability percentage can be attributed to lack of suitable skills. This scenario is not limited to engineering field; it can be applied to other fields as well. Learning is often done through the rote method. As a result, understanding the concepts or applying them to real-world scenarios are not given any importance.
Identifying basic skills

However, it needs to change and the skills required need to be developed in order to fill a huge vacuum of skilled employees. Companies need graduates who can practically apply the knowledge they gained in college with necessary skills. As these skills are not sufficiently developed during their period of studies, they become unemployable.

For instance, consider a software engineering career. Although programming is a vital skill to become a software engineer, most of them turn out to be bad programmers.

This is because programming skill relies on another important basic skill called as ‘logical reasoning’, which might not have been taught. In order to improve a graduate’s employability skills, it is important to identify the required ‘basic skills’ for every profession. These basic skills can be applied across professions and include:

Logical reasoning
Critical analysis
Investigation skills
Optimisation skills
Soft skills like team work, leadership, and communication

These skills can provide a strong foundation on which professional skills can be built. These skills can also be transferred to various professions such as engineering, pharmacology, and banking. However, for these skills to be transferable, they need to begin this in school.

Starting at the beginning

Many educationists are already talking about ‘skills’ in education. Though it may take considerable amount of time to make changes in the central and state board curricula, school managements and parents are eager to enable children with new-age skills. Many private companies, in fact, are providing new-age skill education in schools. However, care should be taken to focus on fundamental skills and not merely use attractive names.
As a first step, students should be allowed to work on hands-on projects at least 1 hour every week. This way, they will be able to learn and develop many new skills that are necessary for them. While planning these activities, sufficient thought must put to design them. It is possible to derive a lot of immediate benefits for both the teachers and the students. One such way is by incorporating it to the curriculum taught. Steps for such a skill-training design are:

Pick and choose topics from the curriculum. Identify the central concepts in these topics.
n Find a real-world application for each concept. Define a project to implement such an application involving a targeted skill learning.

If children are made to work on such projects, they will get a better understanding of the concepts. Concept, application and skill form a golden triangle by which children can be become fully skilled. To ensure that everyone is able to get the maximum number of benefits from a skill-development programme, the meaning of ‘skill education’ has to be broadened.

Once it has been done so, students can be well prepared and equipped with the necessary skills that the newer professions of today seek. And this can only be done if it is started early, especially in schools. If we can impart such a new-age skilling at school level, we can be sure that next generation graduates become employable and new products will be created in India.

(The author is chief learning officer, HobbyMaster, Bengaluru)

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