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The added value of a different type of training

Feb 16,2019 - Last updated at Feb 16,2019

Many look at higher education and its need to be paired with research and project-based learning. Many in the field advocate for students to be studying while experiencing working in the real world. In this case, they would be referring to the importance of students engaging in internships in the student’s field of study that would enhance his/her knowledge of the field.

Many university students are graduating with that added knowledge of the corporate world and with an idea on what their respected fields will look like. I, however, feel as if there is a missing piece in the puzzle. These internships that graduates are obtaining in their third and fourth year tend to be office-focused and administrative. As beneficial as this is, it can have a part to play in students’ vision of success being limited to skyrocketing to a management office-based position, rather than looking at success on a wider scale and truly learning servant-based leadership. This tends to encourage hierarchical management and the idea of office-based success with the idea of climbing the ladder as quickly as possible.

I think it is very important for university students to engage in a different type of training within those first years that can develop a different type of skill set. This training I am about to suggest, if paired with the more directed career path internships that juniors and seniors engage in, will produce a stronger candidate for the workforce.

Each university typically designates between three to 10 credit hours towards internships in the third and fourth year. I believe that an additional three to 10 credit hours should be designated for first and second year students. These credit hours should be designated for students to participate in more customer-centric and service-centric jobs in the community. Examples would be waiter, customer service representative, working in a call centre, supermarkets, gas stations, or in the hospitality, tourism, fast food industry and maybe even in construction. They could also use these credit hours to learn and work in a vocational trade, such as a tailor or a technician. These jobs would be paid and free of charge or volunteering, as the idea is to break the sense of entitlement and stigma that these are bad jobs, and shift the mentality to them as jobs that develop a different kind of skill set; a kind you would not necessarily get from an office job.

These jobs will give youth an idea of different industries, but most importantly, develop their humility, appreciation of others, their customer service skills and their understanding of truly serving others.

This will reduce the stigma these jobs have. With a 19 per cent unemployment rate, we cannot have many of these jobs unofficially designated to foreigners because we think we are too good to do any of them. A university student with no previous work experience can use this experience to mould her/his character, make some extra money on the side and fulfil her/his university credits.

I believe, if implemented, this will work to create a more cohesive community, where people of different socioeconomic backgrounds can interact and increase the skill set and knowledge of the youth in training.


The writer is founder and director of Wasel for Awareness & Education. She contributed this article to The Jordan Times

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