Jobless graduates get helping hand

Muscat, Oct 1 – The Sultan Qaboos University’s Center for Career Guidance has introduced a pilot programme aimed at unemployed graduates.
Titled ‘Leading into Work’, the programme, which targets those who have graduated since 2014, has produced four start-up companies involving 18 participants.
At the closing ceremony, members of each start-up made a five-minute presentation on their company and answered questions about their experience of gaining skills for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
The centre’s aim is to show the depth of Omani talent that can be tapped for employment and entrepreneurship from the current pool of unemployed graduates and from the future cohorts of graduating students.
“We found many unemployed graduates who were keen to go through the programme. More than a hundred graduates were selected but during the programme, almost 60 were successful in attaining jobs, some students had to drop out due to logistics, while 12 of them completed the whole programme,” Sulaiman al Jahwari, Deputy Director at Center for Career Guidance.
The objective of the programme, he said, is to assist graduates find suitable jobs. The programme consisted of six modules, which included one lecture in each module followed by practical experience in studying, research and team-building as well as completing projects.
Candidates who had already secured jobs felt going through some of the modules boosted their self-confidence.
“Soft skills are essential for each person not just graduates. Approach, attitude, behaviour and communication skills are needed in whatever role you pay. Our students have the technical knowledge but when it comes to interviews, they sometimes lack the self-confidence.”
With the feedback the centre has received, the latter is now mapping the outcomes by comparing ‘Before’ and ‘After’ factors. Students were from nine different colleges of Sultan Qaboos University. “Students from medical and nursing colleges have a different niche. But the programme is open for all,” added Sulaiman.

Lakshmi Kothaneth