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Specialized higher education is bridging the gap between industry requirements and formal education


Adaptability and creativity are among the five top skills in demand in 2021 in Randstad RiseSmart‘s latest Survey. They are, unfortunately, the rarest to find. With workplaces and jobs transforming rapidly, skillsets need to be ramped up quickly to meet demand. However, the India Skills Report 2021 found that only 45.9% of Indian graduates were found employable, a steady decline over the past two years.

There is an ongoing industry-wide discussion about India’s “engineering factories,” which produce unemployable graduates. While this is a fact that cannot be ignored, it also exposes the stark disparity between the skill sets the industry requires and what is on offer. Usually, there is a disconnect between the curriculum that is taught in universities and what the actual job requirement is. In the past, academic institutions and industries had no coordination between them and institutions designed their curriculum with no inputs from the industry. To solve this gap, what we need is an effective collaboration between the industry and the colleges so that the students can be employable, and the industry also benefits. Higher education that is tailored and customized to meet the demands of the industry is the key to getting out of this bind.

If we consider the real estate industry specifically, in the past few years, it has undergone explosive growth and we expect this trend to continue. However, till recently, this was an unorganized sector in India and people just acquired the required skills on the job. However, in recent times, profit margins in the industry have been pared down, bottom lines are what matter and timelines have gone steeper. Consequently, organizations can no longer afford to hire untrained talent and then invest time and money in training them and getting them job ready. Therefore, real estate organizations are now looking for professionals who have specialized in the relevant skills during their higher education so that they can hit the ground running as soon as they are onboarded. This way it’s a win-win situation for both.

The industry is driving the demand for the skill sets and competencies they require. Students get to hone their skills and learn to balance the technical with the managerial aspects. Their faculty is just the right blend of academia and industry so that students get appropriate, practical knowledge and industry exposure and learn how things work on the job. Quality education at the college level will help aspirants to perform better. Gaining practical exposure via internships during the industry-specific course will teach students to apply acquired knowledge in the practical domain to derive expected results in the predetermined time.

Meeting Industry Requirement

The real estate and construction management industry is on the path of recovery, which directly means there will be greater job opportunities to meet the growing needs. However, the industry will demand professional aspirants to fill these positions. Now, academia will play a dominant role here, as they will develop courses and curriculum to meet the demand of skilled and competent professionals.

In a dynamically changing environment, one must be plugged into the needs of the industry, the trends, ancillary industries and the kind of roles that are emerging. These factors should be the determiners based on which the curriculum needs to be rejigged and kept updated. Technology needs to be embraced and enhanced in terms of exposure to software tools that are used in the industry. When students get industry-relevant exposure during higher education, it also enhances their self-confidence and ability to take on emerging new employment opportunities.

From now on, for education to be relevant and for students to obtain tenable and pertinent skills, institutions will have to collaborate with the industry and let it drive the curriculum so that we can bridge the gap between the two.

(The writer is Placement Director, RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University)



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