Upgrading Your Skills For the Employment Market
Aug 9, 2010 Career Development 2358 Views
The importance of skills in the new economy is growing. In fact, almost all industrial sectors are increasingly knowledge-based and economic returns are acquired from a range of 'intangible' outputs, one of which is a worker's skills.
Employers are looking for a specific set of skills from job seekers. These skills correspond with those needed to perform a particular job. Beyond these job specific skills, there are other universally sought after skills. The good news is that these are skills you probably possess. The even better news is that you can garner and improve these skills through training and professional development.
What are Employability Skills?
Employability skills are defined as "skills required not only to gain employment but also to progress within an enterprise so as to achieve one's potential and contribute successfully to enterprise strategic directions".
There are eight key Employability Skills.
- Communication: Listening, speaking and writing effectively. Successful communication is critical in business.
- Teamwork: The ability to work with others in a professional manner while attempting to achieve a common goal.
- Problem solving: The ability to find solutions to problems using your creativity, reasoning and experiences together with the available resources.
- Initiative and Enterprise: The ability to assess a situation and seek multiple perspectives, gathering more information if necessary. This also deals with openness to new ideas and concepts.
- Planning and Organising: Having the ability to design, plan, organise and implement projects and tasks within a given timeframe.
- Self-management: Teamwork is an important skill but so is the ability to work independently, with minimal supervision.
- Learning: You should always have a willingness to upgrade your skills or learn a new technique.
- Technology: Today, almost all jobs require some basic understanding of computer hardware and software.
How many of these skills do you possess? The answer is most likely, "many". You can upgrade these skills by following these simple steps.
- Do a thorough self-assessment. Consider whether you need additional training or education.
- Take responsibility for acquiring and upgrading these skills.
- Seek support from your employer.
- Look for training programs and schools to meet your needs.
The Australian education and training system appears well placed to meet the demand for high skills in the new economy. Because there are many reputable vocational, correspondence and business colleges you can enroll in to upgrade your skills, you are spoilt for choice. Before enrolling in a school, do some homework. Here's how:
- Compare programs: Study the information from various schools to learn what business courses are offered and what is required to graduate. Compare the costs of these programs. Are books and equipment included in the overall fee?
- Find out about the school's facilities: Visit the school and ask about its facilities. Check if the school's equipment (for e.g. computers, software, lab tools) is adequate for training.
- Ask about the teachers' qualifications and the size of classes. You may even want to sit it on a class.
- Get an idea of what the program's success rate is. What percentage of students complete the program? How many graduates find jobs in their chosen fields?
Employability skills are critical tools and traits that will enable you to succeed in the workplace. Thankfully, these are skills that you can learn and develop over your lifetime and there are a number of schools that can help you upgrade your skills, giving you a competitive edge in the workplace.