While a tertiary education in most instances is critical to the start of any working career, the reality is that it does not necessarily guarantee employment. Here, many university graduates share the challenge of utilising their qualifications to make an actual living in the world of work.
For many, the only option is to apply for any job even if it is not what they have studied for and are qualified to do, or alternatively they make an attempt at starting their own business or get involved in some sort of entrepreneurial venture.
Unfortunately, neither of these approaches offer the ideal scenario. Not only are potential employers being denied the opportunity of accessing and benefitting from this valuable talent pool equipped with the latest qualifications, but the high failure of local start-ups indicates that very few new graduates setting up their own businesses are likely to succeed long-term.
In both instances, what is lacking, and in fact a barrier to career success, is the absence of fundamental entrepreneurial and business development skills. Despite having attained a degree or diploma, many undergraduate students leave their tertiary institutions without the fundamental skills that allow them to be highly functional, productive and value-adding employees, successful business owners or employment creators.
Ironically, the lack of business and entrepreneurial focus in undergraduate courses is a key contributor to widespread youth unemployment despite the huge pool of newly graduated and qualified youth.
So what can be done to make new graduates more employable? There are two potential solutions. The first involves the inclusion of developing entrepreneurship, business and workplace skills related learning in all undergraduate programmes, while the second involves meaningful collaboration between the country’s education, private and public sectors that sees the development of a graduate incubation system in partnership with higher education institutions. Either approach will ultimately ensure that new graduates become more employable locally and globally or have the knowledge and skills to undertake successful entrepreneurial ventures.