Preparing Students for the Workplace

Four heads are better than one
Creative Commons License photo credit: Unhindered by Talent

While I believe that preparing students to succeed in the workplace is an important part of education, the true goal is to prepare students for life. However, after reading You are now a Consultant, How work is changing, I couldn’t help but wonder if we are preparing students to become self-sufficient in their careers.

The article highlights the fact that the average length of employment is now 2.3 years. The majority of our students will have 12+ jobs in their careers. The author describes 5 tips to thrive as a “consultant” in the workplace, and I couldn’t help but think how each tip is a reminder of what our students need in their classes.

Below are the 5 tips and some thoughts on teaching these skills:

1. Become self-sufficient by building your network

Are we teaching students to build their network, or are we letting them fend for themselves? Creating a PLN for educators has been at the forefront for a few years, but it’s time to teach our students how to cultivate and participate in a learning community.

2. Every time you start a new project you must learn very fast about the client and the work

Project-based learning where students must investigate the problem, and develop a plan before starting, provides an opportunity to discover that successful projects are made in the planning phase.

3. You must keep up with the latest technologies and best practices

Can we teach students to teach themselves the newest technologies and find optimum practices? While the technology we have today won’t be what they use in the work place in 5-10 years, through learning how to learn technology, we can prepare them for whatever tools become essential down the line.

4. Project lengths are short…

Giving many, fast paced projects might be a better strategy than one quarter or year long project.

5. Have a skill set that is in demand

Instead of teaching skills, let’s first have students identify the skills they need, develop projects and a learning plan, and ensure that each student is prepared with the skills they need.

You are a Consultant, How work is changing

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