Time For A Rethink

students-university

Three weeks ago I was given the honour to act as observer at the presentation by 150 students for their main assignment for the semester at a local university. My role was to gauge presentation skills of multiple teams of four students and give feedback.

What was clear the academic standards were generally good but there was a huge gulf between the groups understanding the need how to present themselves and their material?  It struck me how marginalised students would be when going out to find employment, without the type of skills required by employers.

Lack of ability to present their assignment in a professional manner, appearance, poor voice projection, self-awareness and confidence were all issues displayed. Some mitigation should be given as a number of students were from non-English speaking backgrounds.

My broad view is I think there has been a great oversight by the academic and university community (although I should add that one academic institution runs some programs to cater for this issue). Not enough emphasis is being applied to the transition skills required and the addition to curriculums of such learning should be a priority. This is also reflected by employers who claim simple soft skills are lacking from the candidates being interviewed.

We are all aware of the changes we are going through in our society with different standards being applied by the generations. If as we quite often hear that our intent is to develop a smarter workforce in Australia there is an urgent need to review how students and graduates are prepared before they take that massive leap.