In this paper, I discuss about the role of organizations in supporting students to improve their professional skills. There are community organization, school organization and club. Each organization helps students improve particular skills such as networking skill, leadership skill, time management skill and some more skills. These skills are very necessary for student's future career. Besides that, I recommend some method for organizations to motivate students develop their skills and enhance the skills they already have. Soft skills are very important and joining in organizations is the most essential way to improve.
The role of organization in supporting students to improve their professional skills
By: Kim Loan, Ho Chi Minh City College of Economics
The issues related to professional skill development for students have become an increasingly important point of discussion in the education world. “Key or transferable skills have received increasing attention in undergraduate curricula over recent years. In the Biosciences, most of these skills had been incorporated as an implicit component of the degree programs. Initial surveys of graduating bioscience students from the University of Leicester indicated that about half were not aware of having received skills training via this route”, as indicated in the Bioscience Journal. It is clear that community organizations, schools and clubs play an important role in solving this problem. In this paper, I will discuss about the role of these organizations in supporting students to improve their professional skills.
First of all, community organizations are active in providing the safe environment for students to improve skills. Temasek Foundation is a specific example of an organization that supports students to improve such skills as networking, team work and capacity building. They cooperated with Singapore Polytechnic organized TFI SCALE program for students from Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand in September 2018. In this program, students would be more confident in meeting new friends, making connections and building the relationships. Students had to work with many people from other countries, this in turn gave them an opportunity to expand their network. They knew the individuals they were meeting had a similar educational background and career aspirations, so their connections would be valuable. Not only could students be exposed to real-world activities, but students could learn from community leaders that had volunteered to help guide students in the right direction and give them advice. Besides helping students got networking opportunities, TFI SCALE program helped students improve volunteer skills. Students were given the chance to support local communities and use the skills they had learned in school to help locals by hosting workshops and running initiatives to help in whatever way they could. Another important skill that TFI SCALE program helped foster is empathy. After 3 weeks in Singapore, students came back their country and carried out projects to help local people. Students had to live in the homestay and observe local people’s daily routine. Students interviewed the local people and even worked with them so that students could know their difficulties in work. The empathetic process was difficult and important. If students had an empathy with local people as working, students could know their advantages and disadvantages. Then students thought solutions to help local people work easier. Therefore, students realized that life becomes more meaningful when they help other people, but they need to empathy people before helping people.
School organizations also play a vital role in the skill development for students. Often times this might be the only resource a student has to develop professional skills. VCCI is an instance of school organization in Vietnam. This organization comes to many universities and colleges to find a group of students who want to create a start-up business so that they can direct students to carry out the business project. During the working process, VCCI can help students become effective team members. For instance, when students have to compete assignments in groups students must work in teams to get the job done, oftentimes some students they just keep silent and listen to other teammate’s ideas. And then, they receive the task from team leader and search for information on the internet, they try to finish their task and do not do anything more. This way is not really effective. But after joining the project with VCCI, their teamwork skill can be better. Instead of being quiet, students will listen to other ideas and show their opinion about these ideas or give an extra detail. In addition, problem solving is another important skill that students can work on when taking part in doing the project with VCCI. Students can practice to face many problems in their business plan and get used to the pressure about marketing plan, financial plan and production plan. Day by day, students can learn the ideal way to solve difficult situation such as defining root causes of problems, generating prototypes and implementing solutions. Moreover, participating in the project not only teaches students key soft skills, but also helps students improve skills that they already have like leadership. When students work as leaders, they get the chance to learn the best way to communicate with both individuals and larger groups. They also learn to listen to member’s ideas and understand their abilities to give them a suitable mission and motivate team members finish the task on time.
Along with community organizations and school organizations; clubs are also a ideal environment for students to learn and improve. There are some very useful skills that students can get when joining a club. An of this example is International Exchange Club (HCEiE) in Ho Chi Minh City College of Economics. Starting with networking and communication skills, participating HCEiE club enables students to share thoughts, opinions, and ideas. For example, students take part in a club and the first things they need to do is make friends and connect with others. Students do not hesitate, and they ask to know more information of new friends actively, find some common interest to connect further. After the conversation, students will ask Facebook address or Instagram address to keep in touch. In addition, HCEiE club can support students improve negotiation skill. Participating in this club, students will have a chance to discuss working problems with other people. Students show their goals, their emotions and even conflict occurs but day by day, students learn the best way to negotiate such as asking plenty of questions, paying attention on the detail and having a good attitude. Furthermore, joining clubs teaches students about time management. Being a part of a club; whether you are an executive or general member requires a weekly commitment. Students must learn how to schedule their academic commitments along with club, social and family responsibilities. Although this can be a challenge at first it gives them the tools to handle various commitments in an effective and productive way. This experience translates positively when they graduate and have to manage the responsibilities of a full time job and a variety of other commitments in their adult life.
One of the biggest challenges of all these organizations is how they can attract students to stick with their organization in order to continue with their development. There are some ways to motivate students develop the skills of the students and enhance the skills they already have. A good way to motivate students is to create a threat-free environment. While students do need to understand that there are consequences to their actions, positive reinforcements are far more motivating for students than threats are. When a club creates a safe, supportive environment for students, affirming belief in a student’s abilities rather than laying out the consequences of not doing things, students are much more likely to improve their skill and stay motivated to learn other skills. Furthermore, it is important for them to provide multiple opportunities for students to set goals; this is the ideal way to help students to encourage themselves. Students should have multiple opportunities to set their own academic goals. Guide them to establish obtainable goals for a lesson, an action, or even simple task. Suggest them what they would like to learn about a topic and what they think they must do to learn that material. The goals students set for themselves give them more motivation. Besides that, competition is a great way to motivate students. Clubs or organization will not be posting grades publicly or otherwise embarrassing your students, but there are many ways to foster a friendly spirit of competition in club. Games are fun for reviewing and they motivate and engage students. Clubs can also group your class into teams and set them to a challenge, or hold some outside activities. During the competition, becoming the winner is the best thinking make students try more.
In conclusion, soft skills are very necessary in the modern life and community organizations, school organizations and club have an important role in supporting students to improve. The easiest and most essential way to improve soft skills is to join in organizations. When students take part in an organization, this is a chance to learn and improve their professional skills.