Developing Generic Skills for Employment Mobility

17-18/ICPTHA |
29 Jan. - 2 Feb. 2018, Thailand |
In-Country Program |

| Rationale |

Technology education is where candidates are expected to have a high level of technical skills and knowledge. However, engineers, technologists, technicians don’t just deal with tools and machines, and it is no longer an industry in which strong technical skills are all it takes to have a long and successful career.

As you know, the role of an engineer or technician often calls for managing teams or interacting with customers, management, suppliers and colleagues of varying ages, career stages and nationalities. So, they need to know how to lead, communicate and cooperate with a diverse team of people around them.

Engineers, technicians typically tend to be left-brained dominant, however good leadership also calls for right-brain qualities, or “generic skills” and “soft skills”. These are usually referred to as non-technical skills. BREAK OUT OF THE MOULD OF LOGICAL THINKING.

Employers often say that they want entry-level workers to possess employability skills apart from technology competencies. They also often rate the skills, according to order of importance as, thinking skills, personal quality skills, interpersonal competencies, technology competencies and systems competencies. Additionally, employers often cite lack of soft skills such as generic skills like punctuality, communication skills and problem skills as barriers to employment (Naim Yaakub, 2015).

Choi, Y. S. (2010) opined that:

When we think about “skills development” what do we mean? Is it simply the development of technical skills? I would argue that governments must consider that skills development is not solely a technical issue, but also an issue of social policy. “Soft skills”, our ability to work well with others, our ethical standards, our problem-solving skills, to name a few, cannot be developed in isolation. We cannot, for instance, expect a sufficient level of problem-solving skills from a worker who does not feel loyal towards their organization. Workers will simply not put any effort into problem-solving, if they are not motivated. Therefore, it should be emphasized that the development of soft skills is context-dependent. We have to see “skills development” as going beyond the purely technical – it is much more than this.

Generic skills (or employability skills usually referred by industry) are skills that are developed throughout a person’s life and in different settings whether it is through work experience or in educational contexts (NCVER, 2003) Although there are differences in definitions, there is general agreement on their importance in the context of employability and employment mobility. Many jobs today are service-oriented and in this sector generic/employability skills are increasingly important. Skills like problem solving, teamwork, communications have become some of the main requirements (or knowledge assets) to work in the service sector. These assets have contributed to more than half of the wealth of advanced industrial societies as estimated by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (Majumdar, 2004).

In Thailand, in 2016, a study was conducted to investigate the policies pertaining to transferable skills in TVET and curriculum development. The findings of the study revealed that even though notable initiatives and returns are taken at the policy level, still improvements are essential at implementation level.

It takes technology education and training as an important component of education which emphasizes that educating the people should be holistic in nature to allow students to achieve optimal holistic educational and training outcomes and to promote generic skills as life-long learning skills among others.

Generic skills have emerged as an important component of employability skills, which enable an individual to become and remain employable over lifetime and to lead happy and prosperous life. This aspect of Human Resource Development has become equally important in this era, when wage employment prospects have become meager. Generic and soft skills are being required to be developed in TVET in many countries for enhancing employability as well as employment mobility and self-confidence of human resources. It is believed that TVET policy in Thailand implies this move as well.

Generic work related skills belong to emerging critical skills as they enable people to adapt to various situations of work besides job specific requirements. These are also considered as transferable skills that are a critical factor in the holistic development of students, thus it is important that the curriculum, teaching and learning resources are provided on this matter, and TVET officers are made aware of the importance of the generic skills or soft skills in the holistic development of the learners.

| Objectives |

The objectives of the In-Country Program are to:

  • Ensure TVET trainers and assessors get the much-needed knowledge and skills for delivering TVET training online while improving the nation’s local labor force participation rate by linking training to career development
  • Increase the quality analysis and assurance of the competency-based assessments carried out thus enhancing the quality of TVET systems and getting greater acceptance in the society
  • Assure the trainers and assessors that they are getting the relevant skills and personality development

| Key Components |

The main contents of the program are:

  • Blended learning including special lectures and video presentations
  • Developing teaching and learning methodologies with web-based media resource
  • Hand-on practice on development of online media
  • Computer sessions and experience sharing
  • Group tasks, project work, and presentation

| Target group |

Thirty (30) participants composed of trainers from different TVET institutions and employer-based training coordinators in Maldives

| Collaborating Partner |

TVET Authority – Ministry of Education, Maldives