Bridging the Gap
he gap between the skills required by industry and knowledge acquired in educational institutions really exists. It is the current problem of the potential employers who are searching for well-grounded employees. Government should pay great attention to reforming educational system in an appropriate way. Education is not a temporary occurrence between ages of 7 to 22, and then it is over. That specific system needs constant improving. Very often employers are not satisfied with skills of graduates and require higher level of knowledge. States and regions pay great price for lack of qualified workers. There are many unemployed workers, but employers still are searching for high-qualified ones. Every manager wants to have a qualified specialist to develop and improve results of the Company. There are many ways of collaboration between leading businesses and graduates. For example, universities and colleges should organize different seminars, workshops with aim of looking through new trends and exchanging practical experience. However, there is also number of problems that do not give opportunity for graduates to improve their knowledge. One of the educational institutions’ problem is absence of adequate facilities and equipment. The other problem is that education programs cannot be relevant for thousands years. Educational system cannot amend them every year and that leads to decreasing of educational level. Nevertheless, not all academic institutions are inadequately preparing graduates for a competitive and dynamic working environment. For example, Linguistic Universities and colleges graduate qualified students. The paper analyzes the ways the gap between necessary skills and knowledge acquired in educational institutions can be eliminated.
Partnership of Educational Institutions and Industries. Technical Vocational Education (TVE)
Great necessity of partnership of educational institutional and employers of corresponding industries is evident. For today, many graduates have low-level skills not satisfying the employers. Educational institutions should change their direction for closing the widening gap. Osifeso (2011) said, “The TVE is a type of education designed for preparing the individual to earn a living or increase his earning in an occupation where technical information of the laws of science and technology application to modern design production, distribution and services is essentials for positive change.” Most TVE graduates have to be retrained, as they are not employable because of low quality of skills acquired from different professional educational institutions. TVE is a very expensive type of education as for gaining necessary knowledge for future professions graduates need practicing on adequate facilities and equipment. There is lack of coherent model, and practical skills trainings do not give relevant skills for labor market. Many educational institutions cannot provide students with adequate and contemporary equipment; usually facilities and laboratories are out-of-date and very rarely are used in real life industries. If graduates do not have chance to get hands-on practice, they will never be high-skilled workers with the knowledge relevant for market. It is very important for productive learning to evoke interest in students. For every student it is not interesting to learn raw theoretical material without practice. Losing interest in education, they begin to skip classes and abstract themselves from listening the lecture.
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For example, Gloucester country College (GCC) in Sewell, New Jersey, since 2006 has been collaborating with Labrea Bakery (“Growing mismatch between graduate skills, market needs.”, 2014). That company is one of the largest and produces very tasty bread. Students have opportunity to visit the bakery and get to know closer its structure, gain insights into the company, have possibility to ask current workers for advises, participate in a dialogue with senior managers, and have practice in using new equipment.
Learning existent problems with gap widening many educational institutions and industries decided to put into action a process of bridging the gap. First, was taken decision to elaborate new, more industry-oriented curriculum. Specialists working in the corresponding industries developed them. The main objective of these curricula is to produce skilled employees, who could easy work without being re-trained. One of very important aspects is incorporation of seminars, excursions, and trainings into curriculum. Many other productive programs have been carried out in Austria, Canada, Germany, and the United States. For reaching better results, governments of many countries elaborate special preparations for students of TVE institutions. Graduates should go through practical training in definite chosen careers though Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES). The main aim of the program is enhancing of graduates’ knowledge in their future occupation. (Rauner, F., McLean, R., 2008).
Anyway, not all academic institutions are inadequately preparing graduates of today for a competitive and dynamic working environment. For example, linguistic universities and colleges graduate qualified students. Usually, it is not hard for graduates of such institutions to find work, as their knowledge is relevant and corresponds to demands of employers. Students of linguistic universities do not need qualified training with modern and expensive equipment. If they need to improve knowledge, for example, in English language, they can read more books, watch films, communicate on different themes with the other students in English.
Graduate Advantage Program and Other Ways of Bridging the Gap
Government begins to pay more attention to bridging the gap between study and workplace. There was elaborated a number of programs for improving the level of skills of the graduates. Many countries establish training centers that give opportunity for students to have real work experience. They are well equipped, have special laboratories and modern appliances. It is very important that schools are paying for their student, so they do not need to spend their own money. Many leading companies, like Target, Goldman Sachs and Macy’s, have innovative training programs, which are used by graduates (“Can We Fill The Skills Gap?”, 2013). The corporations use their own costs for training.
One of the very famous programs is Graduate Advantage Program (GAP). The GAP is a high value professional development program for students of the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Its main aim is developing of employment capabilities, and promotion of productive connection between students and employers. GAP program is basing on beneficial partnership of industry and students. As a result, students are satisfied, because they gain free of charge knowledge and interesting experiencing practice in leading industries. Companies, in their turn, also have benefits, because, they will have highly skilled professionals, who do not need to be re-training. Basing on GAP program, UNSW has collaborated with leading companies of Australia (Hilmer, F., 2011). Employability of UNSW graduates increases every year. The program methodology comprises several modules, which directly correspond to the key skills that are identified by industry.
As practice shows, not every educational institution is familiar with such perspective programs like GAP, but there are many other ways of bridging the gap between study and workplaces. One of positive effects is that level of education begins to improve. Some universities adopted new educational methods and program models of other countries. Very important is collaboration of institutions with aim of practice exchange and improving the curriculum. Lecturers and teacher should be adequately prepared and visit different modern trainings to keep abreast of the times. They should use all forces to evoke an interest in the students. Experience exchange is also a good way of improving level of skills. It is very good to read books, but no book can give such usefully information, as worker, who has great baggage of knowledge. Examples from life are always more interesting, and students will never forget them. Very interesting way of trainings can be formed basing on experience of Deltek. It is leading global provider of software. This company used training sessions that were conducted virtually. Such kinds of trainings are very cheap, and one leading specialist can share his knowledge online in several educational institutions.
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Graduating students, especially those of Technical Vocational Education, are experiencing wide knowledge deficiency. Half of all graduates are not employable because of industry standards. Every year number of unemployed workers increases, because skills of graduates do not correspond to the needs of the job market. Educational systems should be improved and students must meet expectations in defined areas.
A TVE institution should elaborate programs for facilitating industrial-institutional links. Universities and colleges have to organize different seminars, workshops with aim to examine new trends and exchange practice and experience. It is also very important for productive learning to evoke interest in students. Not for every student it is interesting to learn raw theoretical material without practice. Curriculum plans should be changed and include seminars, trainings, excursions. Different countries are elaborating number of programs for improving the level of skills of graduates; many of them establish training centers that give opportunity for students to have real work experience. It is very important to notice that new training centers are free for students. Improving and development of knowledge is very important for every person, and that does not depend on current level of skill or taken position. Science continues to develop and different innovations are provided every day. If people do not want to lose their skills, they should keep abreast of the times widening their knowledge every day.