Bridge your skills gap, Build your career

So what is the skills gap? Let’s put it this way: Let’s say you’ve just graduated. You’ve got your diploma, and pretty pumped to get that first job. Maybe you’ve even decided where to treat your parents with your first paycheck. So you send out your resume to all those bigtime multinational companies and wait for the calls that’ll drain your phone’s battery. But no calls come. You follow up. Maybe the employer replies: “Sorry, we’re looking for a particular skill set.”

Now let’s say, you’re one of the lucky ones few who do get hired. Only to realize on the very first day, “Wait, I don’t have the skills for this post! They didn’t teach me the skills to do this job! How long till I get fired?”

When educators do not produce students with the focused skills sets demanded by the modern workplace, there arises a skills gap.

“Oh no! What have I done!? All those years. The money. Wasted?”

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First, don’t panic. It narrows the mind, not the skills gap. Second, it’s not your fault. While you were studying to get that degree, the business landscape changed at an ultra-fast pace due to technological innovations and globalization. Even now as you’re reading this, that change is accelerating.

At Pearson Asia’s first- ever learning symposium in the Philippines, Stuart Connor, Head of Qualifications and Assessments stated: “The pace of change is increasing so fast. But in the educational space, it’s not changing as fast.”

Speaking on the Global Employment Landscape, Mr. Connor repeated what industries are saying to educators. “You’re sending us fundamentally unemployable graduates. We’re having trouble sourcing graduates with key skills. Digital literacy, numeracy, core competencies. Not to mention 21 st century skills like adaptability, creativity, critical thinking.”

Stuart Connor

Stuart Connor, Head of Qualifications & Assessments

And that’s at the current rate. Mr. Connor expressed concern for their futures. “If we’re not preparing students adequately for the skills that they’ll need to adapt to an unfathomable, unimaginable future, what will it mean for these kids who are going through this now?”

At the same event, Paul Ryan Paez—Project Manager at ADEC Innovations quoted the futurist Ray Kurzweil: “We will see 20,000 years of progress in this century.”

Can you imagine the number of skill-sets that will be demanded by the emerging industries at that rate of progress? And the number of candidates that won’t get hired?

Mr. Paul Paez added: “The lack of proficiencies harm growth for business. When you look for an instructional designer or an E-learning expert, how and where do you find them? Multimedia arts? Education? IT? Currently, there is no instructional design course in the Philippines.”

As in many places in the globe, The Filipino’s behavioral norms towards education haven’t kept up with the pace either. Parents have the best intentions, but maybe not the most updated ones.

“The mindset of parents is, all my kid needs is a diploma to be a skilled worker.” observed Mark Flores, Pearson Asia’s Country Business Manager, Philippines. “Employers are desperately looking for the proper job candidates. And most importantly, the learners and their parents themselves are not seeing the whole value of skill qualifications.”

As you might’ve observed, the curricula linked to those diplomas tend to be outpaced by the demands of the 21 st century workplace. The demands render those diplomas as generalized theory, as opposed to specific, applicable skills that today’s employers need.

“Oh no! Am I going to end up as a barista?” you may be thinking. Well, there’s nothing wrong with being a barista. It’s honest work and a craft. But, if you’re a barista who’s also taking skills qualification courses, you’ll be opening up more career opportunities than there are frap flavours. Yup, this is where we segue into how Pearson can bridge the skills gap in the Philippines, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

Pearson collaborates with employers who tell them what skills they need now and in the future. Courses and suites are then created and updated as the global business landscape changes.

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These courses, which could be as short as 3 months, equip you with ready-to-apply focused skills and core competencies. From financial and quantitative literacy to data science, as well as the 21 st century skills we talked about earlier. All the good stuff that makes you work- ready from Day One at the office—which could be sooner than you think. Pearson LCCI graduates tend to get hired within 6 months. Employability is their core competency, after all.

With skills qualifications, there’s reason to hope that skills-gaps and unemployment won’t be generational. Especially when educational institutions grasp their Value.

“If we include skills qualifications in our curriculum, as part of our examinations, the employment rate increases for millions of Filipinos,” says Dr. Amalia G. Dela Cruz, Dean College of Business Administration, HRM and Tourism, University of Luzon.

If you’re anything like the person at the start of this article, you’re not responsible for the skills gap. But you can take responsibility for your own future. Bridge your own skills-gap. Update yourself. Get skill-qualified. Become an in-demand, indispensable part of the new global Workplace.