We tend to think of education as a time we acquire key knowledge and qualifications that we use to build our future. That's not incorrect, but is perhaps an understatement of education's more important value --- the acquisition of practical life skills.My name is Dr Varun Gupta, an "Edupreneur" and Global Peace Ambassador from India, and today I'm talking about employable skills.
Never forget that it is your applicable skills that employers are interested in more than anything else. Let us face it, the skills we list below are infinitely more useful (and profitable) to employers than any specific theoretical knowledge you learned in history or geography classes. There are always exceptions, of course, but I believe that for the majority of people the following skills will be the most instrumental in securing employment:
1. Collaboration and Teamwork
Nearly all students can attest to never being alone in a class. Learning in a group becomes central to our education experience and those skills of teamwork and working together to create something positive transfer well into the "real world". It doesn't matter if it's a group presentation or a friendly cricket match; collaboration is all around us and (hopefully) becomes second nature.
2. Creative Problem-solving
Nearly all work is finding solutions to problems. It doesn't matter if it's a seemingly simple problem like arranging a staff work rota, or something more complex like marketing a service to an untapped demographic. The principle is the same, and employers will bend over backwards to get people who have fostered and nurtured their ability to creatively solve problems.
Being employed means being in an environment of constant communication. The ability to articulate your thoughts, listen to and understand others, and transform words into effective action is consistently in the top 3 thing employers are looking for. Never underestimate the value of these skills.
4. Responsibility and Reliability
Being at school may seem like 10+ years of being told what to do, but it's actually an enormous crash course in responsibility. To be a good student, you need to go to the right classrooms at the right times; manage your homework and course load; participate in extracurricular activities and more. So much of school life is simply being reliable enough to do what you say you'll do. Employers need that more than anyone.
5. Computer Skills and Digital Literacy
Another impossibly practical thing that schools give you is a competency and literacy in all things digital, especially the use of computers. Even since the late 1980s, few offices are free from their grip. Being confident and knowledgeable with digital media is as basic a skill nowadays as literacy and numeracy.
6. Working Under Pressure and Meeting Deadlines
Being responsible and diligent comes with another price --- constant pressure. Despite the dismissive tones of some adults, students around the world are under tremendous pressure to perform and achieve. Anyone who can cope in the world of standardized test, increasing competition and the savage marathon of endurance that is 21st-century learning is an invaluable asset to any employer.
To sum up:
Learning the skills that employer's value is really a question of using the opportunities that are presented to you from a young age. All through life you have chances to show that you can be a team player, come up with original ideas to solve problems, communicate your ideas, listen to others, take responsibility, put your digital skills to use and stick to deadlines. Take these chances and grow yourself into an employee companies are proud to hire.