Students dropping out of universities because they chose them blindly?
For many young people, entering the labour market can be a real challenge. Employers, on the other hand, seeing gaps in the talent pool available on the market, see the value in supporting young people at a crucial point in their professional lives. Secondary school and high school students often choose to study without knowing exactly what career opportunities they may have one day in the future - because they simply do not know the business world. In Poland, as many as 40 per cent of people who start studies drop out before completing them. In addition, studies show that a large proportion of young people lack digital competences, without which it is difficult to find a job. This is why companies are increasingly engaging in programmes to change this. The Mikołaj Kopernik Economic School Complex No. 1 and the St. Rafał Kalinowski School Complex No. 1 in Kraków run classes under the auspices of the Capgemini company.
Workshops, meetings with experts at schools or visits to companies provide an opportunity for young people to have direct contact with people who function in the business world on a daily basis and to see what a particular role looks like in reality. And this is a very valuable experience. Particularly as the idea of where one can find employment after a particular course of study is often limited to the beaten track, yet there are many more opportunities.
An additional issue is also the surprising lack of digital communication competence among male and female students. The Capgemini report 'Future-ready education. Empowering secondary school students with digital skills' shows that male and female students have skills such as searching for information on the internet, using computer applications and typing. However, a large group of them have difficulties with digital communication and data representation. Less than half (47%) of male and female students aged 16, 17 and 18 feel confident in writing a professional email. Even fewer are able to create presentations (45%) and data-driven graphs (42%) independently.
Both parents (68%) and male and female teachers (64%) agree that digital competences are essential in today's labour market. Furthermore, as many as 61% of the male and female teachers surveyed have used ChatGPT in their work. This new tool, as one might expect, raises concerns about limiting creativity among male and female students. However, it seems that education professionals increasingly see it as an opportunity to develop new possibilities: as many as 67% of surveyed male and female teachers in Germany believe that the potential of ChatGPT outweighs its risks. In the US, 64% of respondents gave this answer, in Finland 61% and in the UK 60%.
The involvement of technology companies in education, as early as at high school or technical school level, allows young people to be introduced to the latest technologies and to talk to them about the opportunities they open up. In addition, contact with people who work in business on a daily basis allows them to have a look at working in the world of technology and thus make informed decisions about their next steps on the path of development.
"By extending our patronage to selected classes in secondary schools - both high schools and technical colleges we aim to educate and inspire. Which direction to take? Will I also find my dream job after my dream studies? - These are questions that many young people ask themselves. Choosing a further education path can be extremely difficult and is often also associated with a rather vague perception of a later job. As experienced 'players' in the market, we want to show what one can do with specific skills, e.g. knowledge of foreign languages, knowledge of the Java programming language, or knowledge of the Linux administration system," says Gabriela Plencler-Borecka, Employer Branding Process Lead at Capgemini Poland.
As part of the so-called 'patronage classes', Capgemini Poland organised a series of educational workshops on, among other things, presentations, public speaking, business English, negotiation and effective communication with clients, branding principles, CV writing and preparing for job interviews. In addition, students were able to visit the company's office and see with their own eyes what daily work looks like in a large, international company.
"It is always an extremely interesting experience for me to meet people who study at secondary schools and technical schools. I am glad that students have the opportunity to have a look at working in a large company at this early stage of their education. I believe that such an important decision as choosing a course of study should be based on a realistic view of the career path that can be taken afterwards. Such a realistic view of career prospects can inspire future professionals. In addition, even a theoretically 'non-business' course of study, but chosen consciously, has a chance to become a great asset on the job market," says Aleksandra Jędrzejewska, Transformation Consultant at Capgemini Polska.
During meetings with people working in the company, pupils can, among other things, take part in workshops introducing them to the work of the Service Desk. This includes demonstrating how customer calls are dealt with, solving a few typical caller problems or describing a technical issue in an easy-to-understand e-mail format. Pupils also take part in workshops demonstrating technical skills such as programming in Java or C++ or managing Windows and Linux servers. The cooperation also includes classes on soft skills such as self-presentation, public speaking, negotiation or effective communication.
"Educational cooperation with employers benefits both the school, the students and the companies. Undoubtedly, however, it is the young people who gain the most, as they acquire practical skills in a work environment and are given the opportunity to learn about the latest solutions used in a particular industry. We decided to cooperate with Capgemini so that students could gain knowledge and experience necessary to function in the labour market, and in the future have better chances of finding their dream job," says Anna Kałwa, director of the Mikołaj Kopernik Economic Schools Complex No. 1 in Kraków.
"When companies recruit male and female employees, they often look for certain qualities and skills in them. Schools are not always aware of this. Thanks to direct cooperation with the business sector, we learn how to advise young people to develop in a direction that will lead them to their dream career path," adds Arkadiusz Kozub, tutor of the programme engineer class at the St. Rafał Kalinowski School Complex No. 1 in Kraków.
Designing a career, especially at the beginning of the road, is a difficult task. That is why it is so important to gain comprehensive experience at an early stage. Internships, apprenticeships, participation in programmes aimed at pupils and students carried out by companies, which allows you to gain business awareness and broaden both soft and technical competences. Such involvement will certainly result in an advantage in recruitment processes that will shape your future career path.
List of schools with which Capgemini Poland cooperates:
- Mikołaj Kopernik High School No. 1 in Katowice
- St. Rafał Kalinowski School Complex No. 1 in Kraków
- Economic School Complex no. 1 in Cracow
- Mikołaj Kopernik Secondary School No. 1 in Opole
- Salesian Public Schools Complex in Świętochłowice