learning wheel- III
III- A Modern Day Need
Modern day professional learning has undergone a metamorphosis. The emergence of novel sectors hitherto not heard of along with the cut throat competition both at the regional and global level have put the onus on institutes of professional learning to put in place practices so as to match the contemporary requirements of the employer. The age old practices of imparting professional education has undergone a complete facelift and therefore the importance of continuous learning from the external environment and in turn incorporating the same in teaching-learning mechanism has become a necessity. It is here the importance of Institute-Industry Interaction or what is commonly referred as III has grabbed the rightful place amongst the activities undertaken by all professional learning institutes. Almost all professional institutes offering educational programs at the certificate, diploma, higher diploma, bachelors and masters in the field of engineering, business and information technology to name a few have departments looking after the aspect. The inputs fetched by the III, which has different nomenclature in different institutes, viz. OJT department, Training and Placement department, III cell and the like more or less have the same role and that is to establish a strong linkage with players from the industry, cutting across sectors for fetching projects so that the student-teacher can pursue collaborative research, the placement department can gather information pertaining to the requirements of the prospective employers, arranging for the students placements and projects, On Job Training in leading companies, gather inputs which can be incorporated as part of academic curriculum so as to make the curriculum more vibrant, dynamic and contemporary, are few of the key result areas of the III.
Interaction at ICT
Ibra College of Technology (ICT), a professional college of learning in the Al Sharqiya region of the Sultanate of Oman recently conducted a face to face between the teaching fraternity of the college and the industry czars recruiting the pass outs and offering training opportunities to the students pursuing different academic programs. The seminar organized collaboratively by the Department of Business Studies and the On Job Training (OJT) Department was the forum where faculties from the engineering department, business studies department, the information technology department, apart from the OJT head, Mr. Yaseer, OJT Coordinator of Business Studies department, Mr. Subir Sinha and the program host, Mr. Vasheem Hashim, Head of Section, Office Management domain of the business studies department witnessed an illuminating interaction covering issues threadbare, which are of significance in improving the employability of the students in the ever increasing economic landscape of the Sultanate. The college has recently initiated the employment center under the stewardship of the Head of Department of Business Studies, Mr. Abdul Jaleel. The team of Lecturers teaching Job Search Technique, along with the OJT department now forms a potent team so as to revamp the academic curricula in line with the industry requirements, apart from making the continuous III a routine practice.
The deliberation on the Employment Center of the ICT had esteemed speakers, Mr. Mohammed Rabia Al-Ghailani (Mr. Ghailani), Chief People Officer, Nawaras, Mr. Yousuf Salim Khamis Al Rawahi, (Mr. Yousuf) Regional Manager-Sharqiya region, representatives from the ministry of manpower, education and health enthralling the audiences of teaching staff from the business studies, engineering and information technology departments. Mr. Ghailani touched upon a wide array of topics during his extempore which made the lecturers realize the potential offered by different companies and Nawaras in particular, not to mention the nuances which can make or break the career path of the graduates. The aspects emphasized were communication skills, irrespective of the functional areas one is working in. Communication skill entailed good working knowledge comprising of verbal and written communication required for modern day professionals, knowing the basics of business understanding, viz. industry details, company specific information, competitive advantages, competitors profile, industry specific dynamics, holistic view of different departments or functions in an organization and their contribution towards organizational vision, knowing the systems approach adopted by the organization, being the main drivers of growth are of significance for a fresh graduate knocking the doors of the corporate world in the Sultanate of Oman. To queries from lecturers from the business, engineering and information technology department, Mr. Ghailani laid down various thumb rules which were the fundamentals observed in a prospective employee, or a job seeker.
These were the personality traits entailing dress sense, overall physical appearance, designing of the Curriculum Vitae (CV), the information therein and the ability to relate the information with the individual, modern day professional behaviors like team playing abilities, ability to handle pressure, work related stress and the like. He was categorical while saying that students when posing a basic question, generally a starter, “Tell me something about you” can actually set the tone for the interview. Many students kept on prioritizing their responses with their personal information’s pertaining to their family and other allied engagements, whereas the interview panelists in stead looking for responses where the candidate can actually talk about those personal and professional details which can point to the fact that he or she is the right candidate for the job. This ‘tricky question’ often stumps the job seeker. He further added that the candidates, generally a fresh candidate sans any professional working experience are screened on the knowledge quotient and the ability to implement the learning in a practical scenario. It is the right marker to evaluate the aspirant for an opening. For a company like Nawaras, he said opportunities are aplenty in procurement, marketing and sales function (Direct Sales, Branding, Market Intelligence, Pricing, and Customer Service), Finance and Accounts with handful few openings in human resources department. The other important area which was emphasized by him was managing the expectations of the aspirants so that their realistic expectation in terms of roles and pay packet matches with that of the employer. Mr. Yousuf shed light on aspects like market requirements which are an absolute must for all job seekers and for that the job seekers should metamorphose from a marks related approach to that of marks, knowledge and its application approach of learning, culminating in building an attractive personality. These inputs were corroborated by Mr. Hmood director, administration and finance, ministry of manpower and Mr. Said Ashrafi of the ministry of health.
Takeaways for the audience
There were lot of takeaways for the lecturers who assimilated their inquisitive minds with many readymade answers like development of contemporary curriculum in line with the ministry outcomes laid down so that the contents are in line with the industry needs, develop and groom the students with a holistic approach, emphasizing on learning with an application based approach so that the students can put the learning in real life perspective, once they start working in the professional world.