Ideally, universities are supposed to equip you with a significant set of skills and prepare you to work in the field in which you have studied. But in reality, many universities fail to do that. Not only do college graduates lack the skills that qualify them for future employment, but they are also unprepared for the strictness and stress that may come with a full-time, serious job.
Independent UK, in association with the University of the West of England, recently published a article based on the experience of a student from UWE Bristol, Katie Fisher, currently pursuing a BA in marketing and which deals with the issue of employability in recent college graduates.
She has completed a year’s placement in industry and has a lot of work experience so she feels fairly competent, but even so, she is doubtful about her employability after graduating from UWE. “Even with the experience I have gained, I feel apprehensive about my future career. Academic studies are different from the real world and I do believe there’s a gap between university learning and its applicability to real-world work settings”, she says.
But this gap is not always important to employers. Ann Pickering, human resources director at O2, shares her approach: “For us, being workplace-ready doesn’t mean being a fully fledged business professional, it means bringing an unbiased perspective and new ways of solving problems into our organization. It’s our role as employers to upskill our newest intake; the only thing we can’t instill is that innate thirst for knowledge, which is the bedrock of everything to come.”
Fisher’s strategy for becoming work-ready combines university-led training and personal motivation. “During my final year some modules have specifically included tutorials around Adobe, Dreamweaver and Photoshop – all relevant skills for the future – as well as presentations and group work,” she says. “However, a lot of my own skills were developed externally and through a variety of work experiences.”