Graduate Employability Preparation of New Graduates for Work in Air New Zealand
Employability refers to the set of achievements which include skills, individual attributes*, and abilities that enhance the chances of graduate employment and success in the career (Arksey & Harris, 2007). Employability in the recent past has become an aspect of concern for most sectors of the education and economy. Employability or the consideration of a graduate as job-ready is pegged on two major concerns. The first concern is the degree of exposure and development in the apt technical and corporate skills as well as if the graduate possesses the requisite personal attributes that are valued by the employers. The second concern is if the employers have set suitable work environments such as a supportive corporate culture that is sustainable* and an efficient employment structure. That is to mean that the working environment should be in line with the hiring rhetoric and thus offer a platform upon which graduates will advance their careers (Bhanugopan & Fish, 2011). This report identifies how best Air New Zealand and other companies can prepare new graduates for work in the company, discusses the issues involved and makes relevant recommendations on how to improve graduate skills.
Air New Zealand employs graduates to 7 major divisions of the company; airport and airline support operations, cabin crew, cargo department, corporate, digital, engineering, and pilots divisions. These apparently are key sectors of the company and therefore, recruitment and development of graduates must be sedulously undertaken to meet the corporation and customer’s needs. Air New Zealand is a skill-intensive work environment and therefore there is a need to integrate individual education, training, and work experience for the success of graduates (Air New Zealand, n.d.). This report thus discusses key issues that relate to graduate employability in Air New Zealand and makes appropriate recommendations.
2. Discussion Section
2.1 What is needed from graduates?
The major requirements of graduates in employability include; motivation* and passion, teamwork ability, communication*, flexibility* and adaptableness, as well as proactivity. Whilst the above remains the topmost requirements, there are series of other skills and qualities that employees deem fit to meet the goals* of their organizations (Arksey & Harris, 2007). For Air New Zealand for example, oral and written communication since this is very important not only for the coordination of activities with fellow workers and supervisors but also for communication with customers. Especially for pilots, cargo workers, and engineers, their numeracy skills are a very important requirement since there are many mathematical computations.
Specialist skills are important for planning, organization, and problem-solving especially for instances which requires one to assess emergent situations and accurately pay due attention to details. Those in the digital sector are required to have specific information technology knowledge since there is a need for innovative and appropriate knowledge application. Since most of the activities are done in groups, leadership and teamwork are amongst the requirements where individuals are required to have (Arksey & Harris, 2007). The engineering graduates that are employed by Air New Zealand should be creative thinkers, good planners, good data interpreters, and motivated individuals. They must have engineering specific information and be specialist in the areas where they are mandated to work in. Whilst some of the skills are transferable, an organization as skill intensive as Air New Zealand requires occupation-specific skills. There is also a requirement of emotional intelligence for personal competency in awareness, management, and interpersonal interactions (Tran, 2015).
2.2 How graduates can make themselves employable
There is an existing disparity between the skills and attributes that are possessed by graduates and those that are required by the employer (Tran, 2015). Existing research contends that there is an expectation gap which makes employers consider graduates as “not work ready” especially on their three most valued requirements of analytical, technical, business awareness, real work experiences, and occupation-specific skills. In order to bridge this gap, there is a need for graduates to be prepared adequately with skills that are market relevant (Tummons & Ingleby, 2014). Graduates who aim to be employed in organizations as Air New Zealand need to ensure that they possess certain employability skills. They include creativity, adaptability, readiness to learn, independence, teamwork, management skills, the capability to work when pressurized, decision-making skills, communication, time management, and ability to work with the least supervision (Brewer, 2013).
2.3 Common attributes among careers
Most companies, including Air New Zealand, has some set of required skills from graduates that are common to most departments or many organizations. They are referred to as transferable skills and these entail attributes needed for any task and they enable employees to take part in adaptable and flexible workplaces. These skills enable new graduates to contribute immediately to the business undertakings of the firm (Bennet, 2002). Many organizations like Air New Zealand expresses the notion* that new graduates to their workforces lack these common or transferable skills or may not be able to exhibit them towards other employees.
2.4 Useful skills in the workplace
There are skills and attributes that are useful in workplaces. These generic attributes are sometimes referred to as vital competencies. Air New Zealand and other organizations need to invest in such useful skills among the new graduates. These skills can be given by introducing apprenticeship programs which incorporate on the job* training and upon confirmation as a full-time employee, graduates should continuously be trained (Brewer, 2013). The new graduates need to possess two types of skills and attributes and these are technical and soft skills. The technical skills are the job-specific training while soft skills are generic attributes that underpin business focus including customer care skills, planning, responsibility, and communication (Hager, 2006).
3.1 Since there is a discrepancy between skills that fresh-graduates possess versus what the employees want, there is a need by employers like Air New Zealand need to undertake apprenticeship programs.
3.2 They should undertake internal training ventures to ensure a smooth transition*. These will give graduates job-specific skills that universities have not accorded students.
3.3 Universities only give a few of the required skills therefore upon being hired, new graduates need to be accorded trainee post, ongoing training, and be assigned* mentors.
3.4 They should never assume that employees attain all the required skills in the universities. Since graduate employability is not defined, firms need to ensure diversity* in the workforce.
3.5 Air New Zealand and other firms require that new graduates who can apply technical skills and attributes as well as possess generic attributes which include effective communication, customer care skills, teamwork ability, high interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, and information communication technology (ICT).
3.6 In addition, the graduates should be ready and able to learn and are flexible in how they approach their assigned duties for competitive advantage (Brewer et al., 2013).
4.1 There is a need to curb the aspects that hinder graduate employability. This requires full cooperation between governments, trade unions, recruiting services, training institutions, and employers’ associations to come together and chart the way forward.
4.2 Among the most appropriate undertakings to enhance graduate employability include; aligning curriculum with market-relevant skills, the introduction of after-graduation training programs, and establishments of apprenticeship systems.
4.3 There should be active labour programs where firms group graduates and train them appropriately, using the current power of ICT to train graduates, applying social media to explain what skills the firms require so that graduates learn on their own the requisite skills.
4.4 On the other hand, graduates should make it a personal initiative to acquire skills that enhance their employability (Brewer et al., 2013).
4.5 They should align their desired careers with the required skills and always endeavour to attain the skills needed by job market.