Tertiary education still remains a big deal for a significant part of the Ghanaian population, although the high rate of graduate unemployment has somewhat reduced the value that those privileged to have diplomas and degrees attach to their qualification. Just like in any other free market economy, the forces of demand and supply determine who gets a job and who doesn’t. The slow down in public employment due to an unsustainable wage bill also accounts for the seemingly rising rates of unemployment.
Despite all this, I’m a firm believer in the value of tertiary education. There are some undervalued skills that every graduate has (or should have) that are very useful in business. Unemployed graduates can take advantage of the following skills to become self-employed (if only temporarily).
1. Communication Skills. If there is any degree/diploma that doesn’t require a course in communication skills, then I have not heard of it. The importance of knowing how to write memos and letters might have reduced with the popularity and convenience of the e-mail, but you do have to get your format, spelling and grammar right. Report writing is also something that is required in almost every organisation/workplace. You could start offering your skills to neighbourhood businesses/organisations in exchange for payment or at least to be their first choice for employment in case of a vacancy.
2. Basic ICT and Word Processing Skills. People who didn’t make a deliberate effort to upgrade their ICT skills as the times were changing usually rely on others for help in things that seem like basic knowledge to a graduate. You could offer to help out with your skills in MS Office and the Internet, once again for a fee or to help improve your chances of employment.
3. Social Media. Recent opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship has turned knowledge in the use of social media from something you must have to keep in touch with your friends to something you must have to be in touch with the realities of 21st Century business. There are still many businesses that have not realised the advantage that social media can give their business. Who best to manage the social media assets of graduate than the one who tells them about it in the first place?
4. Research. Anyone who has had to undertake a research project knows that it can be one of the most challenging things ever. The knowledge in and ability to research is a skill widely sought after that every graduate should have.
5. Teamwork/Leadership Skills. If you were never a leader of a group for an assignment, you were at least a member. The experience that comes with working with people may not be necessarily translate to a money-generating skill, but it is a valuable one that will prove to be indispensable when you are finally employed, decide to run a start-up with a partner or employ people for your own business.
Photo credit: Vibe Ghana
Financial Analyst | Accountant | Private Investor
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