What does Job Ready Mean?

I read a really interesting Blog post today from HRNinja entitled:

Do Job ready Programs Work?

It got me thinking again about a range of issues around new staff starting a role in an organisation, be they entry  or executive level or anywhere in between, but in particular what is it we mean by job ready.  Now of course the content of what we mean by job ready for a senior executive, is going to be different from a long term unemployed person looking to gain an entry level position in an organisation, but to me it comes down to the idea that the person is ready and able to step into the role they are taking on and that the organisation is able to provide them with the information, technology and support that they need to do the role.

There is a lot of noise made by training organisations both public and private (at the entry level) that their programs produce staff who are Job Ready, unfortunately in most cases that is not the case in a significant amount of cases.  I suppose that I should add for clarity sake here that I am primary talking about those programs that are not connected to organisations, where members f the general public sign up to undertake a course in say Aged Care, because for what ever reason they want a job in Aged Care and the provider has told them this course will provide them with the skills that they need.

Whereas in reality, in some circumstances, the training provider is more interested in getting the person through the course as quickly as possible in order to make sure they get their relevant funding payments, than in actually ensuring that the person has the skills.  Even when it is the case that the program focuses on the skills of the participant, they still often come out of the program thinking that they are ready for employment only to find that they are under prepared for the workplace they are entering.  Employers also I think fall into the same trap in a number of ways, they hire people of the strength of their qualifications only to find that they need to do a substantial amount of work in order to ensure that the person is able to do the role they have been hired for, or they send people to training in the hope that when they come back they will have the skills and knowledge they need for their new role.  The problem is again that this in a lot of cases simply doesn’t happen for a range of reasons.

So why is this such an issue, well because of the costs involved, if a new hire is not, for various reasons, able to do the role that they have been hired for, for a period of time, then this costs the organisation money.  If individuals ‘spend’ their training funding on courses which they expect, mainly due to advertising, will get them a vocation and then find out that they can’t get a job, this costs the government or the individual money and disadvantages the person who has undertaken the course.

Now I understand that training providers are preparing participants against a generic set of industry standard performance criteria, but I think that they can do better, particularly if they build strong links with organisations and industry, create opportunities for participants to undertake real work-placements rather than competency assessment in simulated environments and just work a bit harder to make sure that they are producing what industry needs.

Of course if it is difficult to ensure that people being training to undertake specific rolls, even entry level ones, are job ready, then what do we mean by job ready in the more workforce participation sense, where the skills and knowledge that are being providing to participants are those preparatory style skills.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t be running these types of programs, we need to do things that assist people to be able to participate in the workplace, but we need to be doing the right things and again we need to ensure that the skills that are being taught to these participants are actually worthwhile and will produce someone who in at least some sense of the word could be called ‘Job Ready’.

About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

5 Responses to What does Job Ready Mean?

  1. HR Ninja says:

    Thanks for the mention, glad you found my post interesting. You have raised some very valid points here, and I wholeheartedly agree that there are many ‘job-ready’ programs that in actual fact do not prepare participants for the realities of the role they are training to do. I know that whilst I was at university I was required to complete a work/study semester – biggest reality check I ever had. Nothing beats real life experience which is why I am an advocate for the work-for-the-dole program that allows people to gain experience in the real-world; much more valuable than sitting in a classroom for a couple of weeks.

    • Bob Knight says:

      One of the issues is that there is an implication that training can make a person ‘job ready’. In reality training can only support a person to be job ready. The attitudal and motivational attributes will always be the key elements of job readiness. It is a concern that the myth that a training course can have as an outcome a job ready graduate is continually perpetuated. The points made above about specific skills and knowledge are important but not as important as the personal attributes.

  2. Job ready is a movable feast. “formal” learning is important and goes a long way in preparing someone for the structured part of their job, but it is the ability to think on your feet and “flex” as the job and situation demands that is the important part, and much more difficult to prepare for – this is the part that you learn through on-the-job experience. This is the part that comes with the confidence that you know what you are doing……

  3. Job ready to me means they are ready to learn in the workplace. A solo training provider with no workplace links can argue that the learner is workplace ready, but I would argue that without industry/ workplace experience supporting the training they could not call them truly competent.

  4. Amy Boleszny says:

    We seem to have spent a lot of taxpayer money over the years on ‘job readiness’ for the long term unemployed. It is well known in the employment services industry that the intervention is most effective in the first few weeks of people leaving school, being retrenched or finding themselves out of work. The problem is that the serious funding does not kick in until they have been out of work for at least six months. By that time the clients have lost skills, self-esteem and in some cases, hope. Just coping with the economic consequences of life on the dole is debilitating.
    From my time working in and with JSAs a frequent complaint from the clients was that they went through endless repetitions of ‘job ready’ programs, rather than skills training. I no longer work in this area, but formerly the programs that worked were those which provided hands on training to get people into pre-voc and pre-apprentice training or into traineeships. Outcomes were generally high, particularly when work experience was incorporated into the training. Although very successful, it was hard to get funding because it cost twice as much as training people for retail ‘job readiness’, even though the retail jobs were just not there.
    Another factor in our current state of relatively low unemployment is that some of the long term unemployed are unemployable for other reasons. It is not uncommon for clients to be drug and alcohol abusers, have a mental illness, or the big killer: – come from third and fourth generation unemployed families. Changing the belief patterns of people stuck in 19th. Century class wars is difficult when they view work experience and vocational training as exploitation of the masses.
    The ‘job ready’ treadmill is also particularly hard on mature aged people who do not need to be made ‘job ready’ as they have the skills: they just need a job opportunity and not seen as ‘has beens’. I know, I have been there in the 80s, fine education and high level skills notwithstanding. I wanted a job: all I got offered was ‘job ready’ programs. In the end, I made my own jobs.

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