I have been thinking this week about this word employability. It is being mentioned in the loftiest political circles as well as in schools, colleges and universities, its also being considered by employers and I am told that even parents are managing to suppress their understandable distraction with qualifications, to mention it.
But what does the word actually mean, shall we dwell for a moment on finding a working definition and then using that to inform our thinking further?
Good old Wikipedia says....
While there is no singular definition of employability, a review of the literature suggests that employability is about work and the ability to be employed, such as:
1. The ability to gain initial employment; hence the interest in ensuring 'key skills', career advice and an understanding about the world of work are embedded into the education system.
2. The ability to maintain employment and make 'transitions' between jobs and roles within the same organisation to meet new job requirements and
3. The ability to obtain new employment if required ie. to be independent inthe labour market by being willing and able to manage their own employment transistions between and within organisations.
I must say that for me, the first bullet is the most resonant just now. I’d really like to focus on the sentence ‘an understanding about the world or work’ and it being ‘embedded in the education system’; for me this is the crux of the whole employability debate.
But who is responsible for this huge undertaking?
Can we expect the educators, that have been driven for a long time by their performance being judged purely in terms of the academic, to be able to change over night?
Do our parents need to acknowledge that the A Level / Degree certificates are no longer enough for a career, unlike back in the 70's / 80's??
Is it the employers; should they offer more internships, placements and apprenticeships to young people?
Do commercial expert consultants like Consortio need to be welcomed in to the debate and have their knowledge and experience celebrated instead of being seen as competition by everyone...?
Or maybe should young people take responsibility for their own career and employability skills from an earlier age?
Tough questions.....my view is actually a bit of all of the above because none of the stakeholders in the process are able, on their own, to solve the problem in its entirity and indeed none of them have the know how to be the sole solution. So cooperation, mutual purpose and communication are key to bringing all the stakeholders together and to move the issue forwards quickly.
We know that we, at Consortio, are an important part of the solution.
We know that everyone needs to be part of a coordinated plan.
And we definitely know that unless we solve this sharpish that we will be failing our future talent and impacting our future economic capability.... serious stuff!
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