Don’t let schooling get in the way of your education.
Although many agonise the fate of students during the Covid lockdown, yet, online learning presents an opportunity to look beyond the traditional model of education and develop innovative ways to learn and acquire knowledge.
While degrees are getting delayed and the completion of formal courses is a dream castle at this point, all is not lost on the learning front. As the ultimate purpose of getting an education for most of us is to gain employment, this time can be utilised to seek practical knowledge. And though a formal degree is often mandatory for many a job, it isn’t enough to succeed in today’s competitive work environment.
A huge number of graduates enter the job market each year – most of them unemployable with no real knowledge of skills that are required in the workspace. At the same time, as students bemoan about the lack of opportunities for freshers, employers lament about the unavailability of competent people with the skills necessary for the job.
The emphasis of our education system on theoretical study shifts the focus from skill development to merely achieving a high percentage in exams. What matters for seamless integration into the workforce is hard skills that relate to technical knowledge and training, thereby improving efficiency and productivity. These, along with soft skills such as communication skills, is what differentiate you from others with similar degrees or qualifications.
Unfortunately, these are not being taught within the outdated approach of education that is still prevalent in India. Therefore, you need to seek this knowledge in other settings. Think in terms of what value you offer to your prospective employers. As a fresher’s resume is devoid of past work experience, you must add weight to the skill section. Research what specific skill set is required for your preferred sector. This skill may be proficiency in a design software or expertise in using accounting tools. Go the extra mile in making yourself job-ready.
The world has moved on since our parents entered the workforce 30 years ago. But the education system in India remains the same. Today, it is totally possible for anyone to be successful without a formal degree. As new fields and sectors are being created, creative and innovative ideas are recognised that were unimaginable a few decades ago. Whether you plan to do a job or start your own business, the foremost thing to work on is to build competence.
Education does not mean just passively listening to a teacher try to fill you with “knowledge”. It entails putting that knowledge into practice and learning with hands-on experience. A useful but often overlooked way to execute this is apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship entails working under and learning a trade from a skilled employer, agreeing to work for a fixed period at a low wage. Even though the pay is less, the knowledge gained during this time will serve you for a lifetime. Consider it an investment in yourself. You do pay to get yourself a college degree. Treat this work as an educational opportunity and not a job where you worry about the salary. Teachers aren’t only those who take lectures in institutions, anyone who helps us learn something is a teacher. So, find a good teacher and work diligently to learn the ropes of that industry.
Remember, there’s a time to sow and a time to reap. If you sow the seeds of preparing a good foundation for yourself, the harvest shall surely be rewarding. Take charge of your future and be an astounding success.