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The transition from education to employment

Universities have been viewed as seats of learning separate to the provision of vocational training. The economics of present times dictate that the provision of entry qualifications for a chosen career has become a necessity. Education has as its Latin root the meaning ‘to bring out’.   The development of the whole individual, and the inclusion of the development of ability to think, have never been more apparent as a present need as individuals struggle to survive modern career challenges.

In forty years as a recruiter I see it as the educator’s responsibility to prepare students to gain entry qualifications for their chosen career. To leave university without this, having incurred hefty debt is no option except for the very rich. But success at interviews rests on different skills and aptitudes.

Employers need staff to manage Change without stress whilst retaining good levels of sensitivity. Resilience is a valued attribute to ensure the use of positive thinking as a mindset in the face of uncertainties. Similarly, a strong Social Network supports individuals in stressful situations in the workplace. Employers seek Initiative as a default mode of thinking. The ability to Analyse and Problem Solve is prized.

Communication by the spoken and written word, without ambiguity and in a socially acceptable manner between cultures, demographics and hierarchies, might top the list of valued Competencies. And there is no link between high academic achievement and any of these competencies.

Emotional Intelligence is the seam of gold we interviewers mine for. How to discover this valuable element? It hides in hobbies, interests and concrete experiences derived from the University of Life. Sensitivity to others, good listening skills, and a sense of humour – all deflect and reduce stress for self and co-workers supporting mental health and Resilience in the workplace.

Olympic athletes understand the Energy, commitment and sacrifice connected to attaining goals. Like osmosis it transfers to other goals.   The bottom of the second page of a CV hides such gems.

Students need knowledge and acceptance of themselves to interview well so give them practice.

Integrity, taught by Grandmother might distinguish the candidate, so students choose your parents with care! Concrete experience of work before you apply for paid work may distinguish you from the pack.

Employers, relax on the absence or presence of skills that might be trained in six months.   It has taken twenty-two years to make a person; Henry Ford complained to his HR department, ‘every time I ask for a pair of hands, someone gives me a whole person’. The whole person is what we all get stuck with so better make sure that person is the right one and teach them the missing skills – in your own time!