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Cultivating Tomorrow’s Workforce: The Power of Employability Skills

Cultivating Tomorrow’s Workforce: The Power of Employability Skills

September 17, 2023

The traditional concept of employment is undergoing a profound transformation in the modern job market.

The recent ICMS Employability Symposium shed light on this shift, with Dr Prashan Karunaratne‘s insightful presentation emphasising the critical role of the employability skills of current graduates as tomorrow’s workforce.

What is Employability?

Employability, as defined by Dr Karunaratne, transcends the mere act of securing a job. It encompasses a growth mindset, a commitment to lifelong learning, and the development of a ‘portfolio career’.

Drawing on Dawn Bennett’s seminal work, Dr Karunaratne discussed that, at its core, employability is the ability to not only find employment but also to create and sustain meaningful work throughout one’s entire career journey.

Adapting to a Changing Career Landscape

Today’s graduates are poised to traverse multiple careers and navigate numerous job transitions during their professional lives. The impetus behind this transformation lies in the ongoing shifts in our society and industries. These changes underscore the paramount importance of possessing adaptable skills that can withstand the test of time.

Top Employability Skills

Dr Karunaratne underscored the significance of specific employability skills that are currently in demand by industry.

Drawing on the World Economic Forum’s research, these include:

  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity
  • Project Management
  • Coordinating with Others
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Judgement
  • Service Orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive Flexibility

These ‘soft skills’ were acknowledged by the Symposium attendees as actually very ‘hard’!

Other terms used for ‘soft skills’ are ‘psycho-social skills’ or ‘capabilities’ – or, as used here, ’employability skills’. These skills are prized for their transferability across diverse job roles and industries. Employers increasingly recognise the value of these skills in their workforce.

Anticipating Future Skills

Now more than ever, it is essential to anticipate future skill requirements.

Further drawing on the World Economic Forum’s work, Dr Karunaratne suggested that by 2025 additional skills, such as technology-related competencies and active learning strategies, will take centre stage.

This underscores the necessity of staying attuned to technological advancements and continuously refining one’s learning approaches.

Educators as Employability Skill Enablers

Crucially, embedding these employability skills into our educational systems is paramount.

In a paradigm shift from conventional education methods, educators play a pivotal role in not only imparting knowledge but also emulating and teaching these transferable skills to students.

ICMS Graduate Capabilities: Bridging the Gap

The ICMS Graduate Capabilities align with employability skills.

These capabilities encompass the skills and knowledge that students must master to exude confidence, competence, and innovation within their chosen profession and across various disciplines.

They are meticulously woven into ICMS course designs, providing students with an edge in employment opportunities and preparing them for triumphant careers and fulfilling lives.

In Pursuit of Personal and Professional fulfilment

Dr Prashan Karunaratne’s presentation at the ICMS Employability Symposium emphasised the significance of nurturing employability skills alongside subject-specific knowledge.

In a job market characterised by constant change, these skills are pivotal, ensuring students’ success in their careers and enriching their lives beyond graduation.

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About Dr Prashan Karunaratne

Dr Prashan Karunaratne is an award-winning Senior Lecturer and the Course Director of the Bachelor of Commerce at Macquarie Business School.

He also holds a prominent position on the Academic Board at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS). Dr Karunaratne is renowned for his inspirational and innovative approach to teaching economics and business analytics at Macquarie University.

He fosters a desire for learning among his students by focusing on the ‘why’ of learning and empowers them to chart their own learning journeys by emphasising the ‘how’ of learning.

For more about Dr Prashan Karunaratne, please visit his profile.

 

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Events, General News, News, Academic