Enternships.com founder and CEO on how to get more graduates into jobs
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My key idea: The skills that graduates master while in education have little to do with the real world. Education and business must work more closely together to close the skills
gap. Paid internships, work experience and online, open-source training are key.
According to the Office for National Statistics, nearly half of all recent UK graduates are in non-graduate jobs. It’s easy to blame the economic crisis for the current landscape, and there’s absolutely no denying that a lack of available positions for graduates has a massive part to play. But is that really all there is to it?
According to a recent McKinsey & Company survey, over half of all graduates don’t feel that university has prepared them for the world of work. Perhaps even more worryingly, more than half of all graduate employers agree.
Our graduates currently suffer from a dilemma – they want to do well in higher education, so they learn skills to get a job. Once out of education, diploma in hand, they are turned over to the world of work, where – very often – the skills they have mastered have little to do with the real world. This lack of communication between higher education and the working world is causing a huge skills gap, especially for fast-moving industries such as IT, where thousands of jobs go unfilled because of a lack of suitable candidates.
It is up to our government to ensure that education and business work more closely together, that large businesses in every industry are more open about the skills and training they require of their ideal candidates, and that our universities adapt to take these skills into account.
It’s my belief that UK businesses must become part of a new ecosystem of learning. If over 50% of businesses looking for great graduate talent cannot find it, they must become part of the solution. An obvious factor is the need for more paid internships and more work experience possibilities within every business, and finding the budget for that.
Big businesses need to be more willing to get their training online. We must do away with this gated community of corporate training, and demand that if companies require certain things of those they hire, they should be able to demonstrate how and where you go about learning them.
Companies should take note of the recent rise in popularity of MOOCs (massive open online courses) – millions of people are desperate to learn new skills, and some businesses are in a perfect position to become brand champions of a new way of open learning.
This will help businesses finally get quality candidates – those who are willing to learn in their own time, off their own back, the exact skill-sets these companies are looking for.