SkillsFirst™ Is Here To Fill A Gap – Bode Olutunbi, Managing Partner, Peoplesource Consulting

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Could SkillsFirst™be the answer to improving graduate workplace capabilities?

People are an organisation’s most important asset because they enable the delivery of consistently outstanding service to clients and customers. The potential for achieving this is significantly improved when personnel are talented and highly skilled. In the Nigerian market, it is clear that a wide difference exists between the skills and capabilities possessed by these individuals and those required by employers to achieve their business goals. Peoplesource’s SkillsFirst™ Course addresses this gap.

To understand how relevant the SkillsFirst™ Course is for the Nigerian market, we need to look at the needs within the workplace from the employer’s perspective. Organisations have changed rapidly over the years and they are likely to continue to evolve. Things will continue to change in terms of internal organisational structure and the focus, objectives and future strategies of organisations. These changes will be prompted by the continuing information revolution, a growing awareness of the need to be responsive to customers, clients and other stakeholders, and the need to adopt a global perspective.

Employees need to be alert to these changes and its implications for their careers today. New roles are emerging in the workplace and old jobs are not the same in content as they were a decade ago, they are evolving over time and the expectation is that this will continue. Employers now want people who are going to be effective in this future, changing world. They want employees who are intelligent, flexible and adaptable. Individuals who are quick to learn and who can deal with change. In a future world of uncertainty employers do not want people who are unable to work on a range of tasks simultaneously, people who are resistant to new approaches or who are slow to respond to cues. They want people who can rapidly ‘fit in’ to the workplace culture, work in teams, exhibit good interpersonal skills, communicate well, take on responsibility for an area of work, and perform efficiently and effectively to add value to the organisation.

They will want employees who can use their abilities and skills to evolve the organisation. Ultimately, employers are looking for well rounded people who can do more than respond to change. They want people to anticipate and lead change, to help them transform their organisations.

Recent studies show that undergraduate experience is enormously beneficial for personal development and workplace effectiveness but a degree does not prepare students for work. When candidates leave university they have little idea of the nature and culture of the workplace and find it initially difficult to adjust.

SkillsFirst™ is a training programme which will better prepare undergraduates and employees for the workplace and improve their individual performance, leading to overall increase in organisational productivity. It focuses on challenging and changing behaviours that do not support workplace excellence and includes topics such as understanding the workplace and what employers want, effective communicate, giving and receiving feedback, emotional intelligence, team working, understanding personality and much more.

It is uniquely different from other programmes in the market. It is delivered as a series of highly interactive workshops, with content design and delivery taking global best practices into account. It aims to achieve corporate involvement and it uses cutting edge tools and resources to ensure its impact on the participants and their employers are much more sustained.

We currently run the SkillsFirst™ course as an open programme with participants from leading organisations attending. We are now working with a number of these tertiary institutions to incorporate the programme into their curriculum to ensure their graduates are well prepared for the world of work.

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