As the worldwide economy slowly picks up to pre-pandemic levels, Australian higher education institutions have shifted their focus from preparing students for the technical skills they need, but instead to the soft skills necessary for a thriving economy. This includes time management skills, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal communication, adaptability, leadership, and much more. These skills, while always important, have become in demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses “realised the best way to get the best people is for management to be more understanding” as highlighted in the Financial Review last month by contributor Mark Eggleton.
This means that employers are going to be relying more and more on universities to provide job-ready graduates. “Every role now demands people are able to communicate well, think strategically and lead effectively and to do these effectively, a leader needs to have softer skills,” Ross Morris, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the University of South Australia, told the Financial Review.
With the Australian government’s 2020 $300 Billion JobTrainer program, Macquaire University Business School Professors Dr. Lurion De Mello and Dr. Prashan Karunaratne emphasize this point, noting that the JobTrainer program needs to be incorporated into the university system to “upskill and reskill the workforce.” Dr. De Mello and Dr. Karunaratne make a case that universities are key to bridging this skills gap and that “A degree should not be taught with the presumption that the job will exist at the end of three years of study. Rather, a degree should be taught in such a way that there is a seamless blend of hard skills, soft skills and a growth mindset – where students are empowered with the ability, willingness and confidence of self-sufficiency.”
As hiring in 2021 and beyond will become more soft skills focused, universities will need to adapt to meet the needs of their students and provide the right guidance and tools to document, communicate, and apply them in the workforce.
Symplicity UniHub is designed to support an institution-wide approach to skills development. UniHub’s Skills Development Module can enhance a university’s goal of increasing their work-integrated learning goals and opportunities at their institution. With UniHub’s module, students can build valuable industry skills that are transferable and highly valued by future employers.
With eye-catching graphics used to recognise cocurricular achievements, the module creates an integrated ecosystem within your institution, connecting valuable data between systems and programs. Fully customisable to every university, UniHub’s Skills Development Module includes skills self-assessment and career registration, student facing certificates, and an experience record store. By providing a collaborative environment between teams and departments across the institution, students benefit from a single engagement marketplace resulting in a full view of all student interactions at a university level.