Employee Skills & Competencies
“Future Skills & Competencies” was the main topic of discussion at Wittenborg’s 2nd Professional Field Meeting on Friday, 18 March. The meeting was held at Wittenborg’s Apeldoorn campus with some attendees online. The main aims of the annual meeting were to discuss employees' future skills & competencies and how Wittenborg can tweak its curriculum to serve the needs of various stakeholders.
In his opening speech, Wittenborg President Peter Birdsall stated that the quality of a degree programme is not only determined by the quality of the faculty or lecturers, but also the relevancy of the curriculum during the current period. He added that the aim of the meeting is to gather as many stakeholders as possible to discuss how businesses are progressing in the future and how to improve the quality of current courses to cater to the needs of the industries. This was affirmed by Rijn Platteel, chairperson to the meeting, who said employers nowadays are requiring both academic knowledge and a host of different practical skills. He emphasised that there is a need to find out what skills are in demand today in the market so that we are not behind in terms of supply.
Employers and Alumni Survey
The meeting proceeded with a presentation by Assurance of Learning Manager Kriszta Kaspers of various survey results conducted by Wittenborg in the past two years: the Employers Survey, Work Placement Company Survey and Alumni Survey. She highlighted that most employers preferred bachelor's graduates who have at least some experiences via internships in the field that they will be working. In addition, the most valued competencies are intercultural communication, problem-solving skills and self-development skills like teamwork, interdisciplinary thinking or leadership skills. The majority of the Work Placement employers at least agree that the strength of Wittenborg interns lies in the learning & self-development competency. As for the alumni survey, most of the students who graduated between July 2020 to June 2021 are currently looking for employment, while the Hospitality and Tourism, Business Services and Information Technology industries are the top three currently employing graduates.
Head of School of Business Dr Rauf Abdul presented a topic on “Future Skills and Competencies”. According to the Future of Jobs Report 2020 by the World Economic Forum (Weforum), the top five skills of 2025 are analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, complex problem solving, critical thinking and analysis and creativity, originality and initiative. He added that Wittenborg aims to incorporate these aspects in order to catch up with the trends nowadays. Various researches are already in the pipeline at Wittenborg, such as the IQAinAR research (internal quality assurance) and EFRO recap research.
Wittenborg's Robust MBA Programmes a Boost to Alumni Careers
During the Q&A session, Rijn Platteel suggested that there is a mismatch of skills between what the employers are seeking and what they find in the market. Dr Gabor Molnar, Wittenborg senior lecturer, agreed and said that there is also a need to differentiate the skills needed by large corporations versus the SMEs. He emphasised that in addition to data knowledge and digital transformation skills, students need to have various experience, for example, the flexibility to be able to work in new ways and confidence in working with data. Wittenborg need to work on these skills if they want their students to stay up to date.
Alumni Lingli Shao (MBA Finance, 2020) and Gauhar Kassymbek (MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation, 2020), both from Wittenborg Amsterdam, commented that they gained a lot of business knowledge from the robust MBA programme at Wittenborg, which has been a boost to their current careers. Alumni Marius Zurcher, who is also Wittenborg's Marketing & Communications Project Manager, added that Wittenborg provided him with a broader range of knowledge and skills rather than specialised knowledge in both his bachelor's and master's programmes. These skills have been a boon to his efficiency in running his own business.
The meeting ended with snacks and drinks and casual networking among the attendees.
by Hanna Abdelwahab