The Press Trust of India in Mumbai has reported in the Business Standard newspaper that Indian students have identified that they have a significant lack in development of key employability skills, with a particular focus upon communication and decision making skills.
The survey was conducted with over 1000 students studying across 20 institutions emanating from Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. The full report can be read at http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/majoritygrads-lack-key-biz-proficiency-skills/371077/
The significance of the report is not that the students have identified that they lack development in some key employability skills. This finding is common throughout the world, including Australia. What is of significance is that the article is evidence, yet again, of the global nature and importance of developing employability skills. The very nature of employability skills is that they are skills that relate to practical situations. In other words, employability skills cannot be learnt in a classroom alone. This is one of the reasons why we constantly recommend finding and/or creating opportunities to put employability skills into practice.
We also advocate that the conscious and strategic choice to practice these skills will significantly enhance their development, as opposed to unconscious development of the skills. An important issue arises, however, for international students studying in places like Australia. How do these students access opportunities for practice, especially during an economic downturn? Part-time work is still available so that is one option. Volunteering is another.
Recently I was speaking with a friend and colleague who is involved with the Rotary Club of Australia. His view was that Rotary Clubs provide a terrific environment for international students to not only volunteer and serve their community, but also provide an excellent entry point to local Australian networks. Such networks, he argued could also result in part-time work and, in some cases full time work. He also argued that Rotary Clubs also provide an excellent environment for international students to speak English on a day to day communication level, an experience which over time can have a positive effect upon a student’s overall communication skills. Such suggestions seem relatively simple and on one level they are. The hard part is taking action and placing yourself out into the unknown. I’d argue that international students are well experienced in taking action and placing themselves in challenging circumstances – after all, haven’t they taken incredible action to leave home and to come and study abroad, often when English is a second language and the culture is completely different! In this context, if you are an international student and you are concerned about the development of your employability skills, consider participating in organisations such as Rotary as the benefits would seem to far outweigh any disadvantages.
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