This article focuses on how the ALU learning model prioritizes the building of requisite skills in order to prepare our students for the real world.
With technology and innovation taking center stage, employers are placing a huge emphasis on employees having hands-on work experience and requisite skills necessary to thrive in the working world. Hence, the success of an individual in the real world is heavily dependent on the number of relevant skills he or she wields. The mainstream academic model of education that exists today does not completely meet the demands of employers which is why unemployment is a big issue on the continent. Infact, there is the problem of lack of enough jobs in some parts of Africa like Nigeria and Zimbabwe, however, there’s also a problem of graduates not having the necessary skills required by employers. At ALU, we focus on the meta skills of the 21st century that we believe students need in order to be able to succeed as a professional. In this light, this article will be analyzing the skills required for students to be employable and to be successful as a professional, and how these skills fit into the ALU narrative of grooming young leaders with 21st-century skills.
Critical Reasoning Skills:
Being a critical thinker is a very powerful skill that employers look for in the people they employ. It is the ability to make an objective evaluation of an issue in order to provide the best solution to a pressing problem. An accomplished or effective critical thinker will be able to make a sound judgment of specific issues after they have rigorously analyzed the problem they are trying to solve. In fact, this leads to the honing of the problem-solving skills of the specific critical thinker. In a nutshell, the more you think critically, the more you become a problem solver.
The ability to work well in teams is very crucial to the success of an employee within a given organization. Employers look for people that are not just very good at independent problem solving but also good at working with a group of people in delivering results. Someone that cannot work well in teams (whether as a result of not completing their task on time or because they feel like their opinion has to be the general opinion of the group) will not be able to thrive at the organization they are working at. At ALU, the ability to lead self and others are two of the 7-meta-skills that are inculcated in students through group works and peer learning. It aims to build students into becoming an independently motivated professional as well as make them be better team players.
Communicating for impact:
This is also a vital skill that is required for professionals to be successful. It is the ability to be able to clearly communicate and explain one’s thoughts, whilst recognizing the audience they are talking to. It is also meant to make students have a voice while writing for a specific reason (either writing emails or writing reports of your company). The ability to be able to clearly communicate and present one’s ideas effectively is a skill that is undoubtedly required to thrive and to be competitive in today’s labor market.
Planning and Organizing:
At ALU, one of the 7-meta-skills we focus on is managing complex tasks. This is because when one is given a complex task to complete, the ability to be able to structure, plan, coordinate and effectively execute the project is pivotal to the end goal of the project. That is, the success of the project will be determined by how the executor or employee is able to plan and organize themselves.
This is just an addition to the four skills explained above. Having an entrepreneurial mindset isn’t really about trying to impress your employer so they can promote you but rather, it is more about taking ownership and tapping into opportunities when you see the gap. It involves identifying opportunities, being innovative and creative, providing human-centered design thinking through created solutions, as well as the continuous iteration of solutions in order to make the solution or product even better. Entrepreneurial Leadership is one of the courses taken as one of the foundation core courses which aims to boost the entrepreneurship thinking faculty of students at ALU.