Best practices that institutions can leverage to improve employability of students

Published: May 29, 2017 3:14:03 AM

Organisations are expanding their ‘catchment’ area to look for industry-ready talent with the objective of better fitment, faster time-to-deployment and reduction in training costs.

skilled talent, Organisations in India, employability, employability in India, Economic Survey of Delhi, Education fairs, Career counsellors, Mock interviews, Simulated learning, corporates, corporates in IndiaHow early should one start and what should be done? (Image: Reuters)

Nagendran S

Times are changing, but one thing that has remained constant is the demand for skilled talent. Organisations are expanding their ‘catchment’ area to look for industry-ready talent with the objective of better fitment, faster time-to-deployment and reduction in training costs. Everyone is talking about employability, not just employment. So, what is employability?

In simple words, it is a set of achievements and attributes that make a person more likely to gain employment and be successful in his/ her chosen occupation. Some reports suggest that only 18-20% of Indian graduates are employable. The gap between industry requirements and academic curriculum has emerged as the most common reason for this situation. According to the Economic Survey of Delhi, the educational distribution of those unemployed in Delhi in 2015 is as follows: 1,95,450 people were graduates, 34,033 were post-graduates and 56,576 were diploma-holders. Such a data spells out the need to re-look the challenges and responsibilities of stakeholders in developing a talent pipeline.

The first thing to keep in mind is that a person can’t become employable overnight. Developing skills that will ensure employability takes time—by honing competencies that are essential for a particular job. Universities and schools play one of the biggest roles in terms of assessing and enhancing employability. Here are a few best practices that institutions can leverage to improve employability of students.

i. Education fairs: With companies sharing information about themselves on a common platform that is easily accessible by students, education fairs provide students with information about the industry. These give them an insight into what corporates accept from them as employees and how can they prepare themselves to be job-ready.

ii. Career counsellors: These professionals aim to ensure that students get into a job based on their strengths and interests. They can also suggest early interventions based on employability enhancement programmes.

iii. Mock interviews: Colleges that support professional skilling and certification of a student with the help of scientifically-proven training programmes and assessments tend to attract more recruiters.

iv. Simulated learning: A virtual learning environment and learning management system can help educational institutions develop multiple courses and training programmes at a time. With the advancement of technology in education, we can see an increasing number of colleges delving into proactive forms of teaching, rather than the passive and traditional paper-pen format.

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The role of corporates
Corporates have their task cut out. They will have to keep upgrading the skills and abilities of their employees to make them consistently employable over a longer duration. There are a few things that corporate can do to ensure the same.

i. Start early with internships.
ii. Collaboration with academic institutions to develop a talent pipeline.
iii. Coaching fresh graduates.
iv. Cross-skilling, by offering employees the opportunity to work in other departments of a company.

While a lot of effort has to be put in by corporates and educational institutions, the onus is on the individual to take up the opportunities that are presented and to pro-actively skill and equip oneself with the competencies and traits needed by the industry.

The author is executive vice-president, MeritTrac Services, the testing and assessment services company.

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