Insufficiency of relevant GIS job market skills for fresh graduates is not just a geo-industry problem. However, the situation is rather wanting when we look at the employment numbers and the skill-set that employers salivate for in an individual. So how can graduates be ready?
Graduate trainee programs
Graduate trainee programs offer a tactful way of absorbing the new to-be workers. Although some companies are using this method to scout for talent and mold the near perfect employees, the numbers are not enough. Very few geo-companies have such programs which results to low numbers of graduates who benefit from the initiatives.
Increasing the number of the trainee graduate programs in the industry means that a very small number will be eventually employed by the training company, but the rest of trainees have a chance to look for other job openings (which they are likely to qualify).
Increasing the number of local companies that have trainee programs can significantly reduce the gap between the most-wanted GIS skills and the graduates. Currently, most of GIS graduate trainee programs are offered by foreign companies or Non-governmental organizations that have a presence in Kenya.
Career Choice counseling
A considerable percentage of new GIS graduates are either unhappy with their chosen fields or do not have adequate information about GIS. This results to a high number of low-skill students graduating from the universities and colleges every year. In order to solve this problem, institutions of learning should organize career workshops.
Employers recruit part-time workers for various positions such as GIS analysts, surveyors, GIS developers and cartographers from time to time. Interestingly, students do not take these jobs seriously and even fail to apply especially if they think the pay is little. Students should be encouraged to apply and take advantage of these opportunities to learn as much as they can.
Internet has revolutionized the GIS industry and allowed GIS professionals to work for companies that are in a different geographic locations. Most online platforms that provide freelance jobs now capture the GIS industry comprehensively. Students should use this opportunity to work and learn various skills that will later help them while hunting for a job.
Most students reading this article will argue that working without pay is not motivating in any way. That is not true at all. Remember, students do not have very many financial obligations. Students should be encouraged to volunteer in companies they would like to work for in the future. This will help them acquire skills they need before they even engage the job market as graduates.
The above-mentioned methods are just a few conventional ways to ensure that graduates are ready for the job market. GIS Industry stake holders and academic institutions should partner in order to bridge the gap between students and the job-market in terms of skills. Additionally, GIS and related courses students should come up with innovative ways of keeping up with industry trends.