Colleges are responsible for educating students as well as preparing them for their adult lives. However, when recent graduates enter the job market, employers feel that students are ill-equipped. Sadly so, companies expect recent graduates to be ready for a job from day one, but organizations do not seem to realize that experience is something acquired and not learnt. Yes, recent graduates need time to learn, make mistakes, and need to be given a chance to try things on their own. In other words, one learns best by doing.
WSJ asked a number of experts about the following question:
“Companies often complain they aren’t getting graduates with the skills they need. Why is that—and what should be done about it?”
By quickly reading through all the answers, it seems that there is no clear answer or ultimate solution to problem. Below are a number of different measures that various experts say will close the gap between the supply and demand of a skilled workforce.
1) There should be a bottom up approach to solving this problem. Students should choose the colleges and degrees that best prepare them for employment.
2) Community colleges should ensure that remedial education helps students “become workforce ready”
3) Students need to take responsibility in understanding and developing their skills in order to become more employable.
4) There should be a greater focus on vocational education to train people for middle-skilled jobs
5) Students should work on developing their writing skills, as companies require good levels of written communication that today’s current and prospective employees lack.
6) Colleges need to improve teaching standards and raise the level of education. Institutions should increase expectations on students and reintroduce academic rigor.
7) Students need to be adaptable, flexible and creative in today’s world. The biggest asset is a person’s mindset and personality traits, which can enable an individual to prosper in a constantly changing environment. Thus, colleges should put emphasis on learning “soft skills”: social intelligence, passion, curiosity, optimism and common sense.
8) A greater collaboration between colleges and businesses is needed in order to ensure that students acquire the necessary skills to excel professionally. For example, companies should offer more apprenticeships to students.
People have different opinions on the topic of preparing graduates for work and again there doesn’t seem to be any easy answer. However, as introduced, the most important aspect of any learning program is the actual process of doing, experiencing and learning from trial and error. What recent graduates need foremost, therefore, is an environment and an opportunity to gain work/life experience. In short, practice makes perfect.
Why Aren’t Companies Getting Graduates With the Skills They Need? WSJ. [Online] Available from: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304561004579135253438812772 [Accessed on 20 November 2013].