We are creating clones

Over the last while, my experiences working within businesses and higher education has shown me, we’re falling short of the mark in supporting them, we miss their fundamental needs.

Since returning from Canada in 2014, I attended a number of hustings, as I wanted to understand, firstly, the Independence debate, and secondly, how each party lined up for the General Election. In all of these meetings, there was a focus on getting soft skills back into education, unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything to suggest things have changed.

Our businesses are in real need of potential employees with some kind of creative experiences, it seems when businesses are in the job market, they are finding it increasingly difficult to engage with prospective employees.

Sir Ken Robinson, he of the now famous TED talk, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ writes in his book ‘Finding your Element’ about finding your talent or passion. He states, “we all have at least one element that we are good at, it’s just a matter of finding it.” In order to find it we must be open to being exposed to as many experiences as possible.

It seems we are focused on academic skills to the detriment of creativity. I was recently involved in evaluating students at the end of a module on sales. Of the 20 or so participants, 5 had never been to any classes, they felt they could deliver a sales call by reading a book on how to sell!!!!

Our higher education system needs to radically change, it needs to understand, a student is its customer, and build a service offer round this customer. Learning institutions need to recognize their students as customers and they need to think like a business.

I’m involved in an initiative to develop some sales skills within 3rd and 4th year under-graduates across a range of U.K. universities. This initiative, http://scottishopensalescompetition.co.uk/, hopes to highlight the importance of building sales skills and aims, “To promote & develop a deeper understanding of professional selling and its significance within the Scottish/UK Enterprise & Economy.”

This could be the first step towards a change in direction!

I’m interested to hear your experiences. What are your thoughts?

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