It’s great to see that A Level results are up for the 29th consecutive year. I don’t subscribe to the idea that our youngsters are getting an easy ride with ‘dumbed down exams’ and ‘worthless degrees’. I believe the vast majority of young people today are acutely sensitised to the need to get good qualifications and fight for that first step on the career ladder.
My questions are these:
1) Are graduates leaving university equipped to find and fight for that first job?
2) Once employed, do they have the skills needed to hit the ground running?
3) Do undergraduates appreciate that university is a chance to build up the impressive extra-curricular track record that most employers are looking for?
Well, based on my experience as an employer of graduates with companies like P&G and Hilton, and as a mentor to undergraduates, the answer is often NO.
Of course there’ll always be the stars who figure this stuff out for themselves and get the help they need – and each year they’re snapped up by the blue chip companies. But for so many young people the following is the norm:
For graduate job seekers, lack of practical support with the following skills:
- How to research and decide on a career direction
- How to prepare an impressive CVs and letter tat stands out
- How to prepare for an interview and the importance of rehearsal
For new recruits, lack of experience in the following key skills:
- How to prepare and deliver an impressive, persuasive presentation
- How to write a simple business report or recommendation
- How to participate effectively as part of a team – or even lead it
- How to manage small projects effectively and build relationships
But don’t Universities cover this stuff?
Well, based on a recent survey of graduates that my company undertook, the answer is not necessarily, not consistently and not always particularly well.
Well surely companies train their graduate recruits in these skills?
Of course some do, but not all. Many companies assume graduates arrive equipped with such skills and throw them in the deep end to sink or swim.
Based on our research, graduates (and their parents) are looking for practical support in these key areas; and employers are demanding recruits with higher levels of competence in these core skills.
ABCG Training and Consulting is working hard to address this need. We’d be interested to hear what practical skills you believe graduates should possess in order to make a positive impact in their first role.
Would they ideally arrive with these basic skills or do you expect to train them?