There are 3 primary players in the 'employment landscape'
a) Employers (who seek specific skills in potential employees - technical and soft)
b) Job seekers (who have once been students and acquired those skills)
c) Educational institutes (who help students/job seekers to acquire those skills)
One of the common reasons given for high unemployment rates is that the job seekers lack skills that are required by the industry. Restructuring the current system (employment landscape) may help solving this problem. This can be done by 2 tools:
1) Restructured academics
2) Industry 'adoption'
1) Restructured academics: In this model, the industry has to come forward to participate in restructuring the academic programs offered by the Educational institutes. Education providers can provide 2 separate tracks of programs
- the Academic Track: suitable for those who seek career in the academic field
- the Industry Track: suitable for those who seek career in the industry
The industry should participate in developing the Industry Track alongside the Education providers. The courses should be developed, delivered and evaluated by both the entities.
How will this help in bridging the skills gap? Let's take the example of auto manufacturer A which recruits students from the mechanical engineering department of University B. Currently, since B exclusively designs the program and courses, the students might not be taught very specific things required by the auto industry (Company A being an example). If both A and B designed the courses, if engineers already working with B came to deliver and evaluate the students for some of those courses, the students would be more industry ready than before.
There should also be a totally new 'Soft Skills' module which must be mandatory for the Industry Track students. This module must be developed exclusively developed by the Industry (companies recruiting from a particular University) and can be delivered through an online web based platform / executives coming to Universities and teaching the module.
2) Industry 'adoption': The second in addressing the skills gap is an 'adoption' program by the industry. Let's suppose that Companies A, B and C recruit students of the Mechanical Engineering department of University U. At the beginning of the academic program (year 1), the admitted students can apply for 'adoption' by the companies A, B and C. The companies will then select students who they would like to recruit at the end of the academic program, provided the students meet the criteria put forward by the companies (eg. A minimum GPA, specific grades in certain courses etc.). The companies should also share the cost of attending the University (more like a signing bonus). The companies will monitor the progress of their selected students throughout the academic program. During summer breaks, the companies should also provide the students with opportunity of working on live projects (maybe secondary roles). This way the students will get first hand experience of what they would be doing at the same company when they join the companies as employees. Taking part in live projects will help improve their technical skills. Interaction with the managers, engineers and other employees together with the previously mentioned 'soft skills' module with help develop the students' soft skills. At the end of the program, the students should be recruited by the 'parent' companies as per 'adoption' contract.