Closing the skills awareness gap

Monday 2 September 2019

a group of students sit around a table

In summary

For students to thrive personally and professionally, they need a better sense of self, and a greater degree of flexibility and adaptability than ever before, writes Professor Angela Carbone.

Research tells us that today’s students will likely experience 17 different jobs and five careers during their lifetime. A single job or career is unlikely. New disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation are infiltrating the workplace to reshape jobs. Globalisation will also force students to engage in different ways and collaborate across national boundaries.

Whilst the world of work is rapidly transforming, many jobs will become obsolete and new jobs will be created, some even by our own students. Students will need skills for multiple jobs and possible careers to confidently navigate the world of work.

Universities have been educating students for decades, developing discipline knowledge and professional skills. Yet students often find it difficult to express the skills they have developed, often because opportunities to showcase them are not provided or because there are not enabled to assess and articulate the value of skills developed in the learning context.

ePortfolios provide a platform in which students can capture electronic artefacts as evidence to showcase their knowledge and skills. However, for students to thrive personally and professionally, they need a better sense of self, and a greater degree of flexibility and adaptability than ever before. They need a new mindset. A mindset reflecting a global citizen’s commitment to developing a professional future aligned to their personal values, professional aspirations and societal outlook.  A mindset that doesn’t focus on one dream job but instead prepares them for several jobs.

The challenge for higher education providers, therefore, is to assist students to identify personally meaningful career opportunities and to practice proactive career behaviours while at university, which complement their skill development. Universities of tomorrow must move beyond the development of employability skills, and instead help students develop their professional purpose.

Written by Professor Angela Carbone, Associate Dean Learning Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology.

This article was published in Campus Morning Mail.

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