The UK Globe & Mail published this interesting piece http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/bridge-your-own-skills-gap/article15056920/?service=mobile#menu written by a social entrepreneur whose mantra is, “bridge your own skills gap.”
There are many ways in which students and recent grads can acquire the skills and tools to be more relevant in today’s workforce: On campuses across the country [i.e. in the UK], there are over 10,000 student groups and extra-curricular activities – but only about a third of students get involved outside the classroom. My first experience in sales, marketing, HR and leadership came from on campus activities. Off campus, there is no shortage of opportunities available to students to gain practical, hands-on skills and exposure through internships and work-study programs.
Our generation has all of the ingredients we need to be successful, but above all else, the right attitude to see beyond a linear career path and the courage to take our careers into our own hands is a must.
As U.S. university career offices themselves seek to re-brand their mission – away from the old school here’s how to write a resume/cover letter model – to a more creative entrepreneurial skill-building model where active partnerships engage students with employers and vice versa, this idea of students taking the bull by its horns and going after experiences to build the skills they lack , is definitely the way to go.
My mantra has been to increase attention on the linkage of education abroad with student career development –and this requires a full-court press by campus advisors, faculty and administrators. And let’s not leave out the majority of students who do not leave with any international experience after four years. We can offer them numerous ways to bridge skill gaps through intercultural off-campus experiences in their home community or elsewhere in the country.
Campuses need to focus down on the needs of their students to leave campus with both the intellectual and practical skills they need to enter the workforce. Not good enough to have an internationalization policy on paper if it does not result in innovative new practices to support students after they graduate to find meaningful employment at home or abroad.