Technology and business practices are rapidly advancing which has resulted in the creation of diverse work opportunities. These positions are often left vacant for long spans of time as employers face difficulty in finding candidates with the right skills for the job. The expeditious development in the industry makes it extremely challenging for the students to cope. This results in skill-gap and affects the employment process for students. Now, this leads to the biggest question – how can students bridge the skill-gap and become industry-ready? Well, to get to the solution, first we need to find the major areas where the classroom education is failing to make students workplace ready.
Before we deep dive into the topic, let’s have a look at Chetna’s story. Chetna is a first-year BBA student from JIMS College, New Delhi. She realised that simply classroom education and good academic record wasn’t enough to land her dream job. Understanding the need to get some corporate exposure, she decided to do an internship after her semester exams. Being a first-year student, she faced a lot of rejections at first; however, with her good communication skills, she was finally able to land a sales and marketing internship at an ed-tech firm. She worked on various projects during her internship, made hundreds of calls in a day, worked on new marketing strategies, and got to interact with senior professionals.
By the end of her internship, she realized that there’s a huge difference in what she had been learning in her classroom and how that knowledge is actually applied in real situations. In college, she learned what marketing is and what kind of mediums are used for it but it was only during her internship that she learned how marketing actually works, how new strategies are made on a daily basis, and how they are executed in the real world. So, when she rejoined her college after the break, she had a corporate experience and newly-learned skills on her resume, a newer perspective towards learning, and most importantly, she had discovered the way to become future-ready by bridging the disconnect between her regular education and what was expected in the professional world.
Now, let’s talk about where classroom education is lacking in preparing the students for the professional world and how internships could help with it. Over the last decade, internships have become highly popular among students as they have proved to be the optimum way to learn practical applications of the theoretical knowledge students gain in their schools and colleges.
- Professional etiquette: One of the major things that a recruiter looks for in a potential employee is her professional etiquette which includes email writing etiquette, phone etiquette, and interpersonal skills. This is something that a student can only learn while working in a professional setting and internships offer the opportunity to learn it first-hand as during an internship, interns are often required to interact with clients and customers over emails, calls, and during business meetings.
- Prior work-experience: With continuously increasing competition among students, the employers have also made the selection procedure considerably rigorous starting from expecting a work experience on students’ resume even for entry-level jobs. Here, internships prove to be the ideal choice for them to get hands-on experience while pursuing their education parallelly.
- Industry-relevant skills: Rapid development in technology and industrial practices has resulted in creation of more diverse jobs. This has created a need for students to update their skill-set accordingly. It is exceptionally difficult for the educational institutions to cope with such swift advancements. Here also, internships come to rescue as they present students with an opportunity to update their skills in a real-time environment.
In addition to the aforementioned points, internships also provide students with an opportunity to learn high in-demand soft skills like creative thinking, innovation, decision making, critical thinking, adaptability, and other entrepreneurial skills. This way an internship could be an ideal way for students to overcome the disconnect between what they are taught in classrooms and what the industry expects thus making them workplace-ready.
Courtesy: Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder and CEO of Internshala, an internship and trainings platform (internshala.com)