How can educators prepare students for their first job?

Wednesday 28 April 2021
CMI and KPMG in Sri Lanka joined together for a virtual forum discussing issues of equality in education and how to make young people employable
young person in a job interview with two interviewers

We joined together for ‘Room to Read’, which is a Non-Governmental Organisation seeking to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Room to Read's Girls’ Education Program was founded with the belief that educated women can bring a positive change to the world.

The interactive forum was conducted to provide training  on corporate expectations and skill sets to the facilitators of Room to Read. These people dedicate their time to teaching and training underprivileged children in Sri Lanka and support them in becoming educated and strong women in the community. The session was led by Sharon Abeyratne, KPMG Director – HR Advisory (People & Change), whose 28 years of experience in the legal sector and operational HR has given her a diverse set of skills and hands-on experience.

These are the top highlights of the session:

  • The ‘old ways’ of doing things are no longer effective as the expectations of corporates have changed considerably over the years (which is especially true in the past year, when change has accelerated at an unprecedented pace).
  • New entrants into the corporate world may have unrealistic expectations, lack skills or real-world experience that organisations are looking for. Some early career professionals may be frustrated that it is not ‘payback time’ for their progress so far into adulthood, but a time of brand-new challenges.
  • In order to build individuals who meet corporate expectations, the K-SAM Competency Model Approach, an outcome-based model which explores the 21st century job market,  is ideal.
  • Organisations require certain skills from new entrants such as: communication, computer and technical literacy, adaptability, self-motivation and -management, commitment, teamwork, problem solving, planning and research skills, presentation skills. On top of this, soft interpersonal and etiquette skills are paramount to create a strong network and form long-lasting professional relationships.

How we can shape individuals to build the necessary skills:

  • Re-framing the curriculum to make it more relevant to the needs of the industry (by understanding and teaching core hard and soft skills necessary to any workplace);
  • Collaborate with industries through labs, events, contests, internships, research-based projects;
    Introduce  internship training for faculty members through work experience at partner organisations  to learn
  • practical perspectives which they can go on to teach to students;
  • Promote  alumni-based mentorship programmes by way of training and experiential learning;
  • Enhance focus on soft skills, communication skills, technical skills, etc.

In order to be successful in a role while also being happy and healthy, it is important to find ‘hope and courage’ by building a strong heart, gaining wisdom and finding our mission and calling. By encouraging students to think of their own values, they can seek out organisations whose values and missions align with theirs.

The forum welcomed over 70 participants, who will in turn use this newly acquired knowledge to educate and inspire underprivileged children across the country. CMI and its knowledge partner, KPMG in Sri Lanka, are happy to have been able to support Room to Read in this initiative and create value in our community while also contributing towards building an inclusive future.

To attend these events and see the discussions in full, check out our events listings

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