Employability Skills for TVET Graduates

Business and industry representatives in both developed and developing countries have expressed considerable dissatisfaction with the general level of preparedness of prospective entry-level employees.

Employability skills for TVET graduates

Employers usually find that they have:

(i) unclear direction and goals with very little understanding of their career path;

(ii) low self confidence and poor motivation;

(iii) low level of academic accomplishment with very inadequate basic skills;

(iv) lack of drive and enthusiasm for the work;

(v) undeveloped leadership potential;

(vi) inadequate preparation for work;

(vii) unrealistic salary and benefits expectations. 

While most employers expect to train new employees in company-specific procedures and to acquaint them with the behavioural norms, standards, and expectations in their company as well as job-specific technical skills required, they are very clear that the schools should take most of the responsibility for equipping young people with general employability skills.

Primary Concern of Employers

What skills and traits do employers look for in prospective entry-level employees? What educational practices have experience shown to be effective in passing on employability skills and traits to students?

The primary concern of more than 80 percent of employers is finding workers with a good work ethic and appropriate social behaviour. Appropriate means to many of them: reliable, a good attitude, a pleasant appearance, a good personality.

What Employers Look For 

Employers today claim that they can easily train new entrants in skills that the company need but there are traits they want to see well developed in those who want to join their companies.

Here they are:

  • Easily work with the team
  • Make decisions, identify and solve problems
  • Identify priorities, plan and organize work
  • Know how to obtain and process information including analyzing data
  • Communicate well verbally and in writing with superiors, inferiors and those outside the company
  • Proficiency with computers
  • Ability to influence others
  • Technical knowledge and skills required by the job

What Employability Skills Are Important to TVET Graduates?

Employability skills are the attributes of employees, other than technical competence, that employers see as valuable in the actual work place. 

These skills include reading, basic arithmetic and other basic skills like problem solving, decision making, and other higher-order thinking skills; dependability, a positive attitude, cooperativeness, and other affective skills and traits.

Employability Skills are not job specific, but are skills which cut horizontally across all employment sectors and vertically across all jobs from entry level to chief executive officer.

The critical employability skills identified by employers vary considerably in the way they are organized. However, there is a great deal of agreement among the skills and traits identified.

Sadly, more than half of the school graduates leave school without the skills required to find and hold a good job.

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