Malaysia has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic for more than two years now. It has brought about a huge transformation to several matters such as communication, education, the labour market, and the social, political and economic sectors. Hence, we are adapting to the new norms. Teachers, lecturers and students have had to equip themselves with technology, and buy or download programmes as education is evolving profusely to online media platforms.
In facing the challenges and competitions, students or graduates are advised to get ready at a very young age by equipping themselves with sufficient digital knowledge and entrepreneurial skills in not only coping with the needs and wants of the potential employers in the market but also to help boost the economic development of the country.
National Recovery Council (NRC) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had emphasised that students should engage themselves in multi-disciplinary businesses and make an effort to acquire digital skills to face the challenges of the pandemic in preparation towards moving to the endemic phase or recovery stage. The talents and potentials of Malaysians must be expanded.
Ways to increase graduate self-competency
In view of the importance of self-development, students and graduates should start early by attending highly-skilled programmes that give benefits to them in the long term such as communication classes, English proficiency, public speaking, writing skills, information software, personality grooming and entrepreneurial courses.
Students should be diligent and find ways to gain knowledge and escalate their expertise in soft skills in preparing themselves to meet the job demands so that they fit in the marketability and employability group. This is not only to curb unemployment but also bridge the skills gap in supplying quality Malaysian human capital for job recruitment.
Knowing the market demand for employability
Graduates should always be conscientious with regard to the market trend and do their research on job employability and ensure that they are at par so that they will not be left out when they attend a job interview. Apart from having a promising curriculum vitae (CV), able to communicate effectively, having tactful skills in writing, acquiring soft skills, having a good attitude, pleasant personality and diligence are among the quality traits hired by an employer.
It’s not that as the years go by, the expectations of the stakeholders are demanding as we are moving forward to the Information Revolution 4.0 As a matter of fact, graduates should open their eyes wide, be brave to explore knowledge, challenge themselves by attaining leadership skills, and be pro-active in teamwork and discipline in meeting deadlines by having good time management.
Quality features come nurtured in the home and tertiary institutions
It is undeniable that students learned and brought their own characteristics or behaviour from home and from where they studied in their tertiary years. They are like the ambassadors who represent their varsity institutions upon graduation.
Well, it doesn’t end there. Students have to bear in mind that after completing their tertiary studies, they carry their soulful dream, hope, wish, ambition and expectation to fulfil the desires of their own self but also their parents’ and the organisations that they have applied to for jobs.
For that matter, quality features that come naturally are fostered from the home and nourished in tertiary education, such as intra-personal and interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, capacity to think analytically, problem-solving skills, creativity, innovativeness and initiative.
These valued cognitive characteristics should be inculcated and practised by the graduates for what they had learnt in co-curricular activities as the qualities are sought after by the current employers, setting a difference in not only having a good CV or obtaining excellent qualifications.
Acquiring diversified specialisation in multi-fields and being entrepreneurial
Graduates should be ready and be bold in taking advantage of challenges and privileges to acquire knowledge in more than one field or have multi specialisations. This is vital, as currently, there is a shift in fulfilling the labour demand patterns in the country. The health crisis also serves as a sign for the graduates and society to upgrade themselves.
It is imperative for graduates to have the expertise in information technology (IT) and entrepreneurial skills to venture into the new norms of survival through online business, education and social matters, thus elevating the economic recovery of the nation. It is time for students, graduates and society to jump onto the band wagon, and not be stuck in the regular methods but adapt to the changes by keeping up with the pace of digitisation and be able to utilise the infrastructure in achieving greater heights of self-potential, generating their own income and accelerating economic sustainability.
This is true, for we can see some of graduates being entrepreneurial by opening their own company, either having conventional or online business platforms. As the saying goes, wise people will endure, be bold, see the potential and grab the opportunity quickly at every challenge they encounter.
Norazlinda Hj Mohammad is Senior Lecturer of Journalism at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of UiTM Lendu, Alor Gajah campus.