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Industry Orientation Programme at Caledonian College – Enhancing employability

Caledonian College of Engineering recently made yet another sincere effort in training young Omanis to develop them to excel in the job market. The Industry Orientation programme (IOP) is a 5 day programme organised by the college through the Educational and Professional Development (EPD) department is aimed at enhancing employability skills among Level 2 students exiting with a Diploma. More than 50 students attended IOP which started on 21st January and continued until 25th January 2018. The first day programme gave a very intense introduction, outlining the rationale and benefits of IOP by Ms Prekerthi Paniker, Head of Department. This was followed by Expert Advice on the theme Getting the Job you Want and Sustaining It, by Engineer Abdullah Al Siyabi, Chief Production Manager, Oman Cement Company followed by discussion. He reflected on two important skills required by employers, namely commitment and trainability. He also highlighted analytical skills to focus on what is important to make a decision and commitment to work under pressure as very important skill sets for current times. Students reflected on skills like time management and the importance of being creative and responsible. There was a very important session on Processing Online Applications conducted by Ms Siham and Ms Salima of Caledonian College as part of self-marketing tools and techniques.

Day 2 started with a brief revisit of the previous day’s sessions and learning and was facilitated by Mr Jasim Al Belushi, Deputy Head, EPD. An introduction to the IOP Task Portfolio, which the trainees submit by the end of the programme for evaluation and award of Certificate of Completion, and a session on the theme Industrial visit was conducted by Mr Ibrahim Al Balushi and Mr Mohammed Saud, the coordinators of IOP.

Mr Sulaiman Al Mahroqui and Mr Azan Al Busaidi, both Operation Officers of Injaz, Oman, conducted a workshop on writing CVs and cover letters and facing job interviews. This half day workshop provided students with lots of insights regarding job market requirements, expectations and how to face challenges and overcome them.

Day 3 started with a brief revisit of the previous day by Mr. Jasim and a session on Personal Commercial was conducted by Babu Charles representing EPD. This interactive session aimed at enabling students to take a reflective approach to developing their personal commercial and engage in self-marketing techniques fit into the job market. The session was followed by a very interactive session on Handling Interviews by Dr Punam and Ms Trinette Fernandez. The day concluded with a session on Self-Marketing Tools by Michael Pereir, of EPD department. The entire day developed in students lot of perspectives, insights and provided lot of direction in terms of job searching and converting opportunities into jobs.

Day 4, the entire set of students, grouped based on their Programmes in Engineering, went for the Industrial Site Visit. They were accompanied by faculty and visited Omantel Tower, Ruwi, Al Nahdah Al Omaniah CO. L.L.C and Oman Cement Company (S.A.O.G). These visits were aimed at developing an on-site understanding of job requirements, tasks alongside operations and enabling students to reflect their learning through the Industrial Visit Canvas that they develop based on the visits and learning.

Day Five was developed as a reflective session wherein the Deputy Head of Department Mr Jasim Al Belushi had students reflect the site visits. Students considered how the visit has opened up avenues in searching for opportunities and job prospects, how they had acquired a deeper understanding of skills required at entry level and the types of jobs available for Diploma holders. Professor Vallavaraj, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, gave the valedictory speech in which he advised students to search for not only jobs but opportunities, and also to initiate new ventures to provide jobs for others. He highlighted The 4 Cs required for a successful career, namely, Competency, Confidence, Communication and Courtesy, the most important values, skills and competency spectrum required for success. He mentioned that the potential jobseekers should carefully align the career objective to the job opportunities and also awarded the certificates (provided by Injaz Oman) to students. Students were requested to reflect on their field visits based on IVC.. After the feedback session was carried out, the students were asked to reflect on the changes that they have undergone through the five days of learning sessions. Four representatives from the groups responded by saying that the programme enabled them to understand the job contexts well, develop skills like writing CVs, cover letters and Personal Commercial, which they can use now and in future while searching for jobs. These students agreed that a deep sense of direction has been developed, particularly in terms of developing strategies to identify job prospects, and enhance their self-marketing tools. The programme concluded with a reflective feedback by the faculty on students’ portfolios.

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