In applying for tertiary institutions, the best and brightest students consider a number of crucial factors which will likely determine the trajectory of their careers for years to come. While curriculum, location, and lifestyle will all play a part, it is the universities offering superior employability programs, and heightened levels of industry engagement which will entice the more ambitious candidates.
Across the secondary, VET, and tertiary education spaces, the approach to employability programs is remarkably similar, with each relying on workshops, work experience, and placements to help ready their students for their future careers.
While these models are not without merit, the career landscape is changing for graduates, and these changes will continue to occur in terms of the types of workplaces and roles that today’s students will find themselves in. It is for this reason that new approaches should be considered to help shape an employability program that caters to the real world needs of young people as they enter the workforce.
One of the primary concerns associated with the current approach, centres around the generic nature of these programs, which offer little insight into what kinds of skills they are actually developing, and the kinds of jobs that students will be entering into.
As leaders in innovative industry partnerships, Microsoft is a good example of an industry leader that partners with education institutions to enhance their employability programs and create meaningful experiences for students.
Partnering with a specific employer rather than offering an ad hoc approach to employability programs can see a wide range of benefits for students, as well as the institution and their partners. A key advantage is that placements can be provided in a structured way that is relevant to the curriculum, while also providing opportunities to develop real world skills that will be of benefit to students in the future.
Ultimately, the quality of many employability programs in the future will be determined by genuine partnerships, and curated approaches which give students access to industries and connections who can give them the experience, skills and knowledge that will allow them to thrive in their future careers.