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Abstract

Introduction

Qatar, as a progressive nation, has recognized the importance of investing in human capital with a view to have a strong developed economy and to facilitate the transfer of technologies. As such, well educated workforce is essential for creating, sharing, disseminating and using knowledge effectively. Improving the quality at every level of education system from early childhood to adult training is a strong prerequisite for turning Qatar into a knowledge based economy (Planning Council, Government of Qatar, 2007). In order to support Qatar's rapid economic growth and increasing presence on the world stage, it is imperative that young Qataris are motivated to play key roles in all areas of economic and social development through appropriate guidance in identifying opportunities for right kind of engagement. However, there has been a growing concern over the employability of Qatari youth (General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2012) especially in the wake of the influx of multi-national companies in Qatar. Quite often, university graduates in Qatar are ill-prepared to take on the challenges of being in the labour force because they are less informed about rigorous standards being adopted in public sector employment and the many career opportunities in the private sector (General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2012), though this phenomenon has not been particular about Qatar as many other countries in the world face the same concern that those who are leaving higher education institutions are not equipped to meet the demands of labour market (Marzo-Navarro et al., 2009). Thus, the main objective of this study is to evolve a theoretical model of employability enhancement of young Qatari graduates that could be further explored through empirical research programs in Qatar. Theoretical Framework Employability may be crudely defined as the possibility to survive in the internal or external labour market (Thijssen et al., 2008). According to Ronald et al., (2005), the term employability varies from different stakeholders like employer, employment seeker and policy makers. While employers consider someone with appropriate employability skills and attributes may be ‘employable’, this may be only the minimum criterion when considering candidates, whereas from job seekers perspective, a lack of availability of enabling supports (such as transport to work) or contract terms (such as the requirement for shift work) may mean that a specific job is not acceptable. From a policy-maker's perspective, the fact that the person does not take the job and remains unemployed suggests that (within the context of a specific vacancy or job role) the person is not ‘employable’. A well educated workforce is essential for creating, sharing, disseminating and using knowledge effectively. The spectacular growth and increasing diversification of Qatar's economy has opened up number of avenues for Qatari nationals in the arena of education, training and employment opportunities, especially for youth. Qatar National Vision 2030, which is the driving force behind these developments, is intended to empower all nationals, and more directly women, by identifying respective goals to advance their position and status in the society (Al Matawi, 2011). Improving the quality at every level of education system from early childhood to adult training is a strong prerequisite for turning Qatar into a knowledge based economy (Planning Council, Government of Qatar, 2007). In view of the above, it is the need of the hour to device a research model that would be of greater advantage for carrying out research in the area of employability in Qatar. Of late, Qatar has made major improvements in the Education and Training Sector, yet there is still a need for continued development (Supreme Education Council, 2012). An analysis of the current situation of the education system shows that Qatar still faces challenges affecting both supply and demand for education and training and its right connection to the labor market. In order to overcome such challenges, we have to answer the following research questions. To what extent the young Qatari graduates are aware of the employability skills required to be possessed by them that are most suitable to their immediate assignment? What are the qualities/attributes that various industries in Qatar looking out while recruiting young graduates? To what extent such attributes are incorporated in the outcome based learning in various Higher Education institutions in Qatar? Proposed Employability Enhancement Model Various models on employability (Law and Watts, 1977, Bennette et al., 1999, Yorke and Knight, 2004, Bridgstock, 2009, Popovic & Tomas, 2009) have undoubtedly brought about specific qualities that prospective employees need to possess in order to be employable soon after their studies. Most of these studies emphasis more on those interpersonal qualities that a young graduate may lack because of the transition stage of adolescence. Also, the complexity of employability and the variety that exists in curricula of higher education mean that no single, ideal, prescription for the embedding of employability can be provided (Yorke & Knight, 2004). However, most of these studies were conducted in developed nations where the context of employability would be different from that of a developing nation where education systems could be at its infant stage. As such the quality of capabilities that individuals from these countries possess would be different from that of their counterparts in various other countries. For example, the major challenges that are in the way of enhancing the competitiveness of Qatari nationals include underachievement of Qatari students in math, science and English language at all levels, weaknesses in educational administration including the preparation and development of teachers, insufficient alignment between the national curriculum and the needs of the labor market, low standards in some private schools and inadequate offerings of multiple pathways beyond the secondary level, resulting in limited opportunities for Qataris to continue their education after secondary school and throughout their lives (Supreme Education Council, 2012). This context brings about the necessity of having a tailor-made Employability model for young Qatari graduates that could substantially result in their better employability as specified in Fig. 1. LaunchPAD Model of Employability Proposed LaunchPAD model of employability revolves around following four major pillars that could result in employability of young graduates. Launch Prepare Action Deploy Launch This stage is characterized by all those activities undertaken by the educational institution on the arrival of new undergraduate. This includes activities like making students understand the purpose of education, helping them to set goals as per their own capabilities and imbibing in them a sense of achievement so as to motivate them to reach their goals in the best possible manner. Prepare Soon after the Launch stage wherein students become aware of their own capabilities and the goals set forth by them, they move on to the next stage called Prepare wherein they became aware of employability skills that the industry they look forward to be a part of, require them to possess. This stage requires tremendous support and feedback from each industry in Qatar from time to time with respect to various skill requirements set forth by them. This data from the industry would be helpful for the educational institutions to incorporate such qualities into the graduate attributes in their outcome based pedagogy. Action Having understood the technical and non-technical knowledge and skills requirements of various industries, the Action stage will have specific industry based training programs to enhance the employability of target students who aspires to become part of such industry. The knowledge and skills acquired at this stage would make the student more confident in aligning their goals with that of the industry. There is a need to filter the students to ensure that they acquire certain degree of proficiency in terms of these skills to move to the next level. Deploy At this stage, student having acquired necessary theoretical knowledge and skills vis-à-vis the industrial requirement, they need to experience the workplace so as to put into practice their knowledge and skills. This could be arranged in collaboration with various industries through activities like internship, projects, apprenticeship etc. This opportunity not only provides students to get a feel of the workplace and to choose the appropriate company of their choice but also facilitates employers to identify the right talent for their organization. Efficacy of LaunchPAD Model of Employability Qatari youth make up 15% of the Qatari population, who are generally driven by highly influenced by tribal authority and traditional culture. With globalization, family life in Qatar is also undergoing substantial changes, particularly as women are increasingly encouraged to take part in economic, political and social activities. In order to support Qatar's rapid economic growth and increasing presence on the world stage, it is imperative that young Qataris are motivated to play key roles in all areas of economic and social development through appropriate guidance in identifying opportunities for right kind of engagement. This approach is especially relevant for those who pursue tertiary education wherein often university graduates are ill-prepared to take on the challenges of being in the labour force because they are less informed about rigorous standards being adopted in public sector employment and the many career opportunities in the private sector (General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2012). LaunchPAD Model of Employability, simplistic in nature, has been developed from a practitioner's point of view. This model is expected to motivate students to set their own goals and help them to achieve those goals through systematic interventions from educational institutions and industry. This model will eventually help graduates to perform “graduate level job” by not just resorting to any job after graduation (Pool & Sewel, 2007), by helping them to secure a “self-fulfilling” occupation. This model will be of great assistance to educational institutions, industry firms and training organizations in Qatar to ensure right kind of talent is available at the right kind of work environment to achieve greater economic growth.

References

Al-Matawi, S. (2011). Key Issues, Challenges and Opportunities Confronting Qatari Youth Today. Background paper for Qatar Human Development Report: Expanding Capacities of Qatari Youth. Doha: Qatar General Secretariat for Development Planning and United Nations Development Programme.

Bennett, N., Dunne, E. and Carré, C. (1999), “Patterns of core and generic skill provision in higher education”, Higher Education, Vol. 37, pp. 71–93.

Bridgstock, R (2009) The graduate attributes we've overlooked: enhancing graduate employability through career management skills, Higher Education Research & Development, vol 28, no 1, pp 31–44.

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Law, W. and Watts, A.G. (1977), Schools, Careers and Community, Church Information Office, London. Marzonavarro, m., pedrajaiglesias, m., riveratorres, p. (2009)“Curricular profile of university graduates versus business demands: Is there a fit or mismatch in Spain?” Education & Training, Vol. 51 pp.56–69.

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Pool, L.D & Sewel, P. (2007) The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability, Education + Training, Vol. 49, Issue.4, pp. 277–289.

Popovic, C and Tomas, C (2009) Creating future proof graduates, Assessment, Learning and Teaching Journal, vol 5, pp 37–39.

Supreme Education Council, (2012). Education and Training Sector Strategy 2011–2016. Available at http://www.sec.gov.qa/En/about/Documents/ Stratgy2012E.pdf (Accessed on 01 July 2014).

Ronald W. McQuaid and Colin Lindsay, (2005). The Concept of Employability. Urban Studies, Vol. 42, No. 2, 197–219, February 2005.

Thijssen, J.S.L., Van Der Heijden, B.I.J.M., and Rocco, T.S., (2008). Toward the Employability–Link Model: Current Employment Transition to Future Employment Perspectives, Human Resource Development Review, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.165–183.

Yorke, M. and Knight, P.T. (2004), Embedding Employability into the Curriculum, Higher Education Academy, York.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHAPP1516
2016-03-21
2020-09-27
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