Work Readiness-What is missing?

Throughout 2016 I have had the opportunity to be involved with a leading academic institution here in South Australia acting as both as a mentor and presenter. The work has been thoroughly enjoyable; in total I have engaged with around 200 students and would like to share my observations derived from the experience.

My personal career experience as a person involved in business both here and abroad in many diverse environments has led me to expressing a view on this matter.

Firstly there can be no doubt the level of professional teaching being applied is of a great standard and will hold students in great stead as they complete their respective degrees and enter the workforce.

The amount of diverse assistance offered is of great credit to the University in encouraging students to undertake further personal development and has to be commended but I feel there are further aspects which need to be introduced.

We would all agree that the emergence of the digital age has given so much to our society improving how we work and live but there are drawbacks in terms of how we now interact which is having serious implications of reduced 1-2-1 conversations with a range of different parties.

A great proportion of the students observed all showed the same personal characteristics that their was an obvious lack of confidence in how to present themselves and their particular topic or discipline. Their appreciation how much this will have on their employment prospects was rather unnerving.

My view it is a combination changing trends in how they communicate using the various channels of technology available to them. I know this matter has been raised frequently over recent years and is not new but needs further emphasis in both professional development and our educational systems.

Over the last decade we have spent a great deal of time in telling the younger generations how poor or lacking their personal attributes and it seems perhaps it is having an effect on attitudes. (Incidentally as I write this post yet another article ridiculous over hyped article appears along the lines I have mentioned ).

My personal experience in 2016 heightened my belief that a new approach is warranted more suited to examining confidence levels and motivation in students. The misnomer is that the new generations possess a huge wealth of confidence, it is just not true.

In the midst of so much negative dialogue we generate and are surrounded by today, we are setting ourselves up for further failure in not concentrating how to develop people to operate our companies and organisations in a very complex world.

Academic achievement is only one avenue open to students as they begin their journey, the other side of teaching and learning practical skills is just as vitally important.

Ken Wood

People Specialist