Archive for August, 2013

Integrating Employers and Schools

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Another year, another recruitment drive, and yet another batch of candidates who aren’t quite what we are looking for.  

The result is a shift away from graduates in favor of apprenticeship schemes and recruiters are realizing the benefit of investing more in training staff. But why wait until candidates are out in the open world, and have already gone through the education system? Surely this is slightly redundant: wouldn’t it be more forward thinking for employers to engage with the education system at an earlier stage?

One thing that is worrying about this recurring situation is that as the years lapse with recruiters saying the same thing over and over again, technology and industries across the board are advancing as never before.  This is where we see the skills gap: advancing industries without the skilled or experienced candidates drive those industries forward.  Recruiters are wasting precious time in complaining, when they could be doing more to resolve this dilemma.

Recruitment Expert Mike Fetters, from Total Jobs agrees.  Though he maintains that students, institutions and employers all have a stake and therefore a responsibility in preparing students for the world of work, he believes that recruiters could do much more: “It’s the employer’s responsibility to engage with students at an early stage, much earlier than they have been doing in recent years. They have been saying the same thing over and over again about skills. But do you know what? That rhetoric hasn’t changed in the last 10-15 years, so what are you doing about it?”

What can be done?

Fetters sees integration as the answer, and that employers should try to partner with schools and colleges in a more meaningful way, including “steering course content”,  to ensure that students are being taught the relevant skills and have better careers advice.  There has been debate about whether education should be focused solely on business, but as Fetters also pointed out, the ultimate aim of education isn’t just about learning, it’s about also creating better opportunities for students to find employment to support themselves in life.

Rather than asking the question – why don’t they have the qualifications we need? The question recruiters should be asking themselves is – what more can we do to make sure that they have the qualifications we need to keep our industries and businesses afloat? – James McCaffrey