Why Graduates Need Practical Skills

Mar 30, 2022 | By Jenna van Schoor
Why Graduates Need Practical Skills - Global SACAP

Many students around the world seek out a tertiary qualification. It can provide a solid theoretical foundation in a chosen field. But, when it comes to getting a job, graduates can find that they lack the necessary practical skills to enter the workforce.

This doesn’t mean that a degree that focuses on theory doesn’t offer value. It only means that a qualification needs to include the practical application of theoretical knowledge to equip graduates with market-ready skills.

In this post, we talk more about why graduates need these kinds of practical skills to enter the workforce.

A changing world

It’s no secret that the world is changing rapidly. Today, it’s more important than ever to be adaptable. In addition, to be able to offer value in a global marketplace that is subject to unpredictable shifts and changes. Technological advances and the move towards remote and hybrid working models mean that the market demands practical skills.

However, that doesn’t mean that acquiring market-ready skills is anything new. The workplace has arguably become increasingly more competitive over the years, therefore, graduates need to ensure their CV stands out. This has always been the case, but when companies are under strain from less than favourable economic conditions, it’s even more essential to have exceptional skills.

There has always been the option to do internships or gain work experience during the holidays for students. Or, for those who are already employed, to study further. However, students might not know where to start gaining experience or who to approach. Internship options might also be limited. Working as an unpaid intern requires resources that unemployed students don’t always have access to either.

This means that students, and those looking to advance, need to focus on gaining practical experience during their degree or while working in a constructive and accessible way.

A pragmatic approach

When we talk about market-ready skills, what exactly are these? According to recent research by the World Economic Forum and McKinsey, in addition to technical skills like computer programming, particular key “soft skills” are in high demand in 2022 and beyond. These include:

All of the above are especially relevant to the rise in remote working, and the need to learn how to use technology to communicate in different ways. In hybrid and face-to-face working environments, graduates also need to collaborate and work in a team. This adds value in a world where manual and basic cognitive tasks are expected to be performed by intelligent machines.

So how does one learn these skills? Well, mainly through trial and error for many. But, with the right approach, graduates can learn these as part of their qualifications. While gaining work experience can undoubtedly help, graduates are likely to achieve success in the workplace by developing these market-ready skills from the outset.

But how does this happen in practice?

Incorporating practical assessment

Thankfully, with the advancements in online learning platforms, this is possible. To allow students to learn practical skills, course facilitators can incorporate assessments into their course material. Completing these evaluations online also provides course facilitators with feedback on which skills might need improvement, and where students are performing well.

For example, when learning about concepts such as human behaviour, an assessment may also include interacting with others outside of the course, to collaborate and learn skills like resolving conflict. In this way, students benefit from both the pragmatic nature of regular online assessments and applying the theory they learn in the world at large.

All of these practical assessments come together in a portfolio of evidence. Graduates can share this with prospective employers when entering the workforce, or seeking a promotion.

Gain the practical skills you need at SACAP Global

We’ve talked about some of the reasons why graduates need practical skills. Namely, the workplace is becoming more and more competitive, and there are many soft skills required in a technologically advanced marketplace, which many degree programmes do not teach.

With this in mind, SACAP Global short courses provide practical, in-demand skills for students looking to upskill in the fields of Business Management, Human Resources and Applied Psychology. All our short courses are hosted on the OpenLearning platform, which is designed to promote activity-based learning, and foster collaboration.

Our range of short courses equip you with the tools to grow and thrive in your chosen career. Our expert facilitators, who have a wealth of experience in their field, will guide you to get the hands-on exposure you need to add value in the workplace.

Contact us for more information about how we empower both graduates and working professionals with our list of short courses.

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