Whose responsibility is it to make one “job-ready”?


The industry cribs all the time that Indian education doesn’t produce enough job-ready people. I wonder, is it the responsibility of the schools/colleges to make one job ready by training them on specific tasks? Or is it the school/college’s responsibility to provide the students with the general tools and knowledge of theories and practices that will help when they take up a job. No school/college ever knows what job each of its students will take up. So, it is not possible to train the students on specific tasks! It is fair that they impart training that is general in nature. And, it is obvious that such general training may not be useful for specific employers.

The employers have all the specific processes and equipments that can be used for demonstration and making the new entrant job-ready for that specific job. Only employers can provide this customised training required to make the best job fit. So,  shouldn’t the employers be training them? Are the employers shirking responsibilities? Do all the employers in our country today have customised training for their new recruits/staff?

Standard Reply: The employers fear that whoever they train will soon escape to some other employer and so they don’t want to invest. Really? So, the alternate solution is you crib and take in half trained people and use them immediately to deliver services and products which are equally half baked?

Is trainee/apprenticeship period for training new recruits and making them job ready? Or is it a few months when the new recruit is like any other experienced employee, expected to deliver but at a lower cost and with the flexibility to be fired at short notice?

(Views of an outsider who is very much a part of the story.)

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3 Comments

  1. I think it is an interesting argument. The purpose of education cannot be to make one ‘job-ready’. If that were the purpose, then we would have people that are very limited in their thinking and lacking the ability to push intellectual boundaries. Indeed, I would argue that it is actually a problem that one sees in India, with multiple professional/vocational courses like MBAs/engineering programmes. Education should ideally have a higher goal: that of providing analytical skills, the ability to rationalise, argue and continually learn. Being ready for a “job” should ideally be an oblique benefit. Once someone chooses a profession, it should ideally be the responsibility of both the employer and the employee to upgrade skills or be prepared for the task at hand. One can easily build in training/achievement of specific skills as a part of a person’s goals/KRAs for that year, which should ideally be planned such that the employer and the employee benefits. As for the fear that people might leave, yes it is valid. But only for organisations that are not quite providing what the employee desires, which could be anything from adequate pay, a good working environment, growth path, or a combination of any of these and many more factors. In fact, attrition and training can have an inverse relationship, as is seen in the civil services in India. Organisations need to shed their insecurities and use high employee attrition as a metric to introspect. Not providing adequate training can hardly be the answer to addressing challenges of employee attrition.

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  2. I think what the industry is asking for is electronics engineers who can explain how a transistor works and financial management graduates who can at least remember the Break Even Point formula. I am the kind who will fail the former test and I have had experience of people failing the second.

    The employability issue is only a tip of the iceberg of larger challenges of the education system. Fixing responsibility is a tricky game.

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    1. Agreed Thomas. Our education system isn’t without faults and that is a matter of discussion as well but what would you say when a data analysis company wants a new joinee to be a whiz in spreadsheet programs but doesn’t want to train him/her? How can you be expected to be a whiz in spreadsheets unless you really work on it? Also, what would you say when a hospitality industry employer wants to recruit only those who have prior experience? And so on.

      So yes, it could be wrong to put the entire blame on the industry but when it comes to employability as such, the industry needs to do more for its own sake. If the employers were to say that “training” was not a core function, I would be bothered, but then with the pop construct/argument of specialisation as a way of increasing efficiency I might say that it is ok to outsource training to other specialised organisations. The question remains, will the employers pay a part of the cheque? Not everybody I guess.

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