Employer engagement in employee education and training



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There is an undisputed link between employers’ requirements of competencies and providing education and training accordingly. In technical terms, this is referred to demand-driven education and training, which developed and most developing countries are concerned about, to be able to ensure full employment of their graduates in industry and workplaces. The opposite of this proposition is supply-driven where there is not much of a connection with employers and providers, and provide education and training in the way they have been doing it. The ultimate result of the latter is that graduates find it difficult to engage in work, as what they learned in the education/training center has less relevance to the requirements of the industry. Once again in technical terms, this is called a "mismatch" of competencies in relation to industry/workplace requirements.


In this context, the developed world has recognized the importance of employer engagement in education and training, in order to be able to provide demand-driven education and training, minimizing mismatches, which yield maximum returns on investments in education and training. When it comes to preparing youngsters who come from education to employment, it is vital they have competencies which the industry/workplace needs. Improving standards and relevance of education and training as per workplace requirements is, therefore, an unchallenging task. Standards and curriculum of course shall therefore be developed according to industry requirements.


Employers’ engagement in co-creation and innovation of standards and curriculum is the starting point in creating persons for effective engagement in workplaces. Networking between training and education providers and the employers make the way towards this path, which most countries around the world are focused on. Regular industry visits by providers and same by industry to the education centres are an important step towards this end.


Resources are allocated by donors and international agencies around the world for the said purpose, in order to make education and training systems demand driven. Governments are interested in this transformation as it is vital to make use of government education and training infrastructure and resources in a rational manner. The term "rationalization" comes into play in this scenario where the courses and resources are evaluated in the light of "skills needs" of a particular geographical area, and redistribute them accordingly in order to get maximum use of limited resources.


Reaching "equilibrium" between supply of people and demand of industry is also another important matter because, in the absence of equilibrium, there may be a chance for a "surplus" of people in certain industry sectors as they do not grow in terms of production and sales of their output due to global economic issues. Also, there may be a shortage of people in certain industries due to no concern of equilibrium. This is an area of concern though still there is a "social demand" for certain skills, but there is no "actual demand" from industry where there is a chance for unemployment of graduates in the industry/workplace. Therefore, uninterrupted dialogue with and engagement of employers in education and training providers is of paramount importance.


DR. AJITH POLWATTE


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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