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Tobotron's avatar

Does industry think University is a training ground?

Asked by Tobotron (1313points) August 15th, 2010

University/College depending on where your from, so after loosing my job in the public sector due to cuts, I’m now looking for work again, 2 weeks in I’ve been offered 2 jobs but then declined them for not ticking a box, all be it a very trivial box (a days training max).

I find this more than frustrating that employers seem to expect you to acquire industrial experience out of thin air, that’s not the biggest problem, my problem is how specific they are.

Is it not very narrow scoped of industry to deny recent graduates such as myself positions they will grow into very rapidly because of there un-willingness to invest any time at all in their future workforce?

And what does this spell for my generation and the future of industry?!

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17 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Do I think universities do a good job training students for industry life? Based on my experience within a single degree program within a single institution, and inference, no. It seems that universities are filled with academics that often have no – or very limited – work experience outside of academia (i.e. in the real world), and really, academia doesn’t much incentivize outside work experience. So, it follows that academics aren’t very qualified or prepared to mentor anyone else about what it takes to succeed out here. It also follows that by nature of the path they have chosen, they don’t give a shit about the “real world”.

Is it short sighted for industry to deny graduates with little to no experience a job? Well, first off, not everyone in industry does this, and second, the economy stinks and employers have the advantage. Jobs in general are hard to come by. This is especially true for entry level work. Why hire a n00b when you have a line out your door of experienced people that are willing to work for next to the same as the n00b?

That said, I hear your frustration. It is not easy learning “on the job”, and after paying thousands of dollars for a degree, you expect it to be useful. I hope this will change in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.

cazzie's avatar

I’m at a bit lost. You didn’t take the job because they didn’t offer any training? or because you didn’t want to do the training offered?

Are you afraid you won’t be able to do the job or learn as you go, like many of us have? I’ve always told my future employers that ‘I’m constantly doing things I don’t know how to do in order to learn how to do it.’ I think it’s called initiative and employers need their work force to have it. It’s too expensive to spoon feed and micro manage, and personally, I’d hate to be managed like that.

I say, GO FOR IT! If you’re being offered jobs that you like the look of, except for the lack of one-on-one training, just go for it. Starting a new job is always a learning experience. Take the job description and run with it. You’ll be allowed to ask questions as you go, surely, but if you get a job where you are expected to think for yourself and be relied on for your personal judgement, those are two things that can’t be taught from a text book. You just have to have it and do it.

I know someone who is a perfect example of this. He’s not an electrical engineer, but started as a temp, assembling electrical components. He liked the work. He helped streamline some systems that he saw he could help with (initiative), and he found himself on a plane to Korea with a tool box and no training on how to fix some equipment he had only some small ideas of how it worked. He called the techs when he had questions, but he’s been learning as he goes now for 10 years and travels the world fixing things for the company he was hired as a temp for and trains others and has more ‘qualified’ people calling him all the time for help.

They’re not hiring you for what you exactly know about that specific job description, they’re hiring you because they believe you will learn and pick things up as you go. We’ve all done it. Sometimes it’s fun!

Tobotron's avatar

@cazzie no I didn’t decline them, I would love some in work training, the whole sha-bang I mean they offered the job then retracted it based on me not having experiance on a particular IT program for example, (despite being an Economics Computer Science grad) Ild probably pick it up in 2–3hrs but they want someone that fills every single box, which is unrealistic.

Employers market I know :S

(I’m 24 BSc Hons, 1yr working for the Ministry of Defence, 6months working in Russia with languages, teaching etc, what I’m saying is despite the fact I’ve done a fair bit so far with myself I am in an black hole age group where it is physically impossible to have the qualifications the employer requires AND the 3–5yrs experience they ‘require’ what I’m saying is that people ages 18–26 are not offered opportunities anymore. Maybe some people can help with my idea to go self employed that Il post later)).

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am a small business in industry. When I need a certain skill I look for someone with that skill. Period. I don’t wan to (nor can I afford) to train someone for 6 months. I want them to hit the ground running. “Here’s your desk, your PC. The bathroom is down the hall and to the left.Welcome aboard!) If they have the skills I need, either from a project in university or a previous job or even a hobby like nerdy amateur radio I grab them.
I need fluency in MatLab, PSoC, USB protocol, C, and high performance analog circuitry.
I grabbed the two guys that had all of the above. One was 50 years old, the other 27.

Tobotron's avatar

@cazzie thanks for the link, although the sites down at the moment…will apply later…

@worriedguy so in essence you are agreeing that you consider university to be a training ground for industry, my argument is that study only educates and industry has to pick up from there otherwise you won’t improve your business because people will have a static skill set. This isn’t something I’v made up its a political and social question that needs addressing especially given the current climate where many businesses are operating like yours, without incentive to take on some staff and train them in return for say lower starting wages, tax breaks, etc etc

cazzie's avatar

@Tobotron it’s not down, it’s right there. But I guess most of the job descriptions are in Norwegian, so that might take a bit more than a days training.

lilikoi's avatar

@Tobotron FWIW, I’m 25 and when I graduated from univ a few years ago, I was offered jobs at several different firms. I had zero industry experience. I had to learn a whole new vocabulary, and everything else. There are lots of companies that hire young, green people, at least in my industry, and train them, but it is far less common in an economic slump than a boom.

BarnacleBill's avatar

When I graduated from college my father told me, “What a college degree means, is that if it comes with a manual, you have no excuse.” That has proven to be true. If I need to pick up something new for a job, I learn it on my own time. Work does not train me, but rather exposes me. You become obsolete if you focus on task-oriented work.

One area that’s often overlooked is the value of IT project management skills on the business side. I work with a project manager on the business side that came from IT, and his skills as a sherpa through the whole applications development process has been invaluable. He’s our scrum master on an agile project, and frees me up to focus on business process issues.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Tobotron This guy’s experience in university was very applicable. He did the telemetry and communication for a picosatellite (cubesat) as part of a school project.
He did not take “basket weaving 101” or “Asian literature of the 18th Century” He was an EE and a damn good one from a great engineering school.
Both guys “hit the ground running.

Tobotron's avatar

I think the whole stream has focused a bit too much on my position than the posts initial question but I am grateful for the feedback personally of course…

I think unless your looking you can’t really get a feel for getting work in what is a global recession as the market circumstances really do change from month to month and depend so much on location!
But I work on relentlessly as I know its a numbers game given that I’m still way more qualified than a lot of people including graduates out there :)

Il be working on my own project(s) I think in tandem with the job search as looking for a job second time round has only made me more determined to not work for another boss and rather create my own job which with my frustration behind it could be the best thing for me and my career?!

@worriedguy I’m Prince2 qualified, all the typical programming languages, speak English and Russian, learning Swedish, worked for the government in defence (that’s no easy job – well it was really lol), qualified language teacher….still nothing, believe me I can hit the ground running its what I’ve done to date, its just getting that message across…

I’m not really depressed about it, only been looking 2 weeks, just frustrated with the narrow vision of ‘some’ employers and the current state of affairs. (UK based by the way).

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’m not sure how employment is over in the UK right now, but here in the states, I think the problem is that the new grads are competing against people with years of experience in their fields.

saservp's avatar

@Tobotron I’m in your shoes as well. I have two MA degrees, speak three languages, have traveled and volunteered extensively, and have 4 years of work experience as well before graduating. Employers (in the UK) are turning me down almost out of hand because they are requiring incredibly specific experience even for so-called ‘entry-level’ jobs. I haven’t been looking for two weeks, btw, I’ve been looking for 11 months now…

Tobotron's avatar

@saservp what area of work are you looking in? I’ve found I’m either over qualified to be considered because they know you will be gone in 6 months time (been told that alot even in an interview) or ‘under qualified’ because I forgot to list that I could play minesweeper on my CV and its a requirement of sitting behind your desk at your office job.

I wonder whether ‘they’ presume that were all stupid? But its this situation that inspires entrepreneurial-ism even if it is tricky without any capital.

Figaro's avatar

The University system in the US has basically become a training ground for industry, especially the community colleges and smaller local schools. Basically, I believe the university experience should impart to the student the ability to think independently, the ability to write clearly and correctly, the ability to read with understanding, the ability to research new topics. In addition, the student should get some familiarity with the basics of their specialty. No matter what your major or expertise when you get into industry, every shop has its own way of doing things that the new hire must learn in order to be productive.

YARNLADY's avatar

Some of the industries here in my area are actually paying for classes to be offered at our local community college to provide qualified workers.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Tobotron You have useful skills and will be snapped up. Keep looking.and doing something positive.

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