Formal Qualifications Just Wont Cut It
A recent article in The Age stated that, “Formal qualifications are valuable, but do not cover a lot of informal skills and attributes of value to employers”.
Graduates are obtaining the theory from their degrees. However they are lacking the practical skills in a workplace such as “…Being punctual, following directions, producing work on time and giving attention to detail…”.
Yes, you can argue that as a student you can develop these skills through assignments and group projects but there is an evident gap between what is learnt through studies (formal skills) and how graduates can demonstrate these as well as the practical skills to employers. The practical skills are sometimes not being captured through formal education and training:
“Skills such as being innovative or creative, creating a positive impression, showing respect for others or accomplishing tasks independently matter a lot to many employees, yet such skills are not obviously captured in formal education and training and too often have to be inferred from a resume or accepted on the basis of an assertion from an applicant.”
For this very reason I believe that experience gained through Work Integrated Learning programs are a key differentiator for those looking to employ graduates. Graduates who have had Work Integrated Learning experience have not only obtained the theory related to their industry through their education as well as some soft skills, but have also had the opportunity to apply all of these in a business environment.
As a result, these graduates are able to clearly communicate to employers how they have demonstrated the practical skills required for the roles and are confident in doing so, thus increasing their employability.