Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm
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The Finishing Touch

May 26, 2011 01:00 AM
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A recent study says that only 10 percent of our graduates are employable. What's missing is the 'Finishing Touch', discovers Bindu Gopal Rao
 
All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners... Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing... not moving toward excellence.” These words of Denis Waitley have so much relevance in today’s times that they are hard to miss. While schools teach you much, there is still more to learn. In order to plug this gap and make people sharpen their skills, finishing schools have several methods up their sleeves. DH Education takes a closer look at this trend.
 
 
Selling Hard On Soft Skills
 
Bangalore based Edge Academy offers courses in Aware Conversational English (ACE), Body Language, Corporate Etiquette, Culture Orientation, Customer Service, Effective Communication, Essential Business Skills, Grooming, Deportment, Power Dressing, Interview Skills, Leadership Skills, Social and Business Entertaining, Dining Etiquette, Social and Executive Communication Skills and Time Management.
 
Says Sudhir Udayakanth, President and CEO, Edge Academy, “Our experts guide you in the refinement of your image and persona without compromising on your comfort and natural style. Being comfortable and knowledgeable about grooming, deportment, hygiene, etiquette, international cultures, socialising and hosting, along with the understanding of how to become an outstanding global citizen is something we can each strive for.” The academy offers workshops and courses focused on image building and image consultancy.
 
Personality Development, Confidence Building, Positive Thinking, Leadership Qualities, Public Speaking and Communication Skills are some of the areas The Finishing School offers courses in. They specialise in one-on-one training. Malathi V Kumar, The Finishing School, adds, “With society evolving at such a fast pace, we try to identify the need of the hour and provide the required courses. An example would be pre-marital counselling. We also specialise in corporate training and one-on-one sessions.”
 
Enhancing Employability
 
Today the concept of Finishing Schools has expanded its wings and actually helps potential employees get job ready. Walchand Dale Carnegie Finishing School has been started with the vision of enhancing employment amongst fresh graduates, imparting world – class business skills for sustained performance and career success and to meet the ever-growing industry demand for suitable talent at the entry level.
 
With a 94-year-old track record of success that has trained 8 million graduates worldwide, Dale Carnegie Training India, a division of Walchand PeopleFirst, has worked with more than 700 corporate and institutional clients. The philosophy and objective of the Certificate Program in Executive Excellence, which is the core program offered at the Walchand Dale Carnegie Finishing School, is based on extensive research amongst students, inputs from various industry players and guidance from the Government of Karnataka. The curriculum has been developed using the unique Dale Carnegie Training methodology for adults. The program is designed to be interactive, experiential and is oriented towards development of skills, necessary for success in the globalised workplace.
 
Addressing employability
 
SkillBridge is an employability enhancement programme by 24x7 Learning, a Talent Lifecycle Management Company that caters to fresh graduates and soon-to-be graduates. Training in grammar, spoken English, communication, personality development, leadership skills, resume building, interview skills, analytical skills, logical reasoning and e-Learning is imparted. Karthik K S, CEO and Founder, 24x7 Learning opines, “The response to the SkillBridge program has been phenomenal. We are already present in 25 locations across the breadth of the country and most of them in Tier I and Tier II cities of the country. As per an earlier study conducted by Mckinsey only 10 percent of our graduates are employable. SkillBridge addresses this shortage of employability skills.”
 
SkillBridge is also running the Knowledge Centres setup by Rajasthan government. NASSCOM Foundation and SkillBridge joined hands to enhance employability of youth in rural India and empower unemployed youth through different employability skills. “We have also tied up with several colleges across the country to take these programs to students and equip them with the right skills to keep pace with changing Industry needs, thereby preparing them for employment and enhancing the placements of the college,” says Karthik.
 
According to Pallavi Jha, Executive Chairman, Dale Carnegie, “Our corporate clientele have given feedback saying that they see a huge difference in terms of the effectiveness of employees trained by us.”
 
Methodology
 
The training programs, which range between 2-3 days to several months in duration, are structured and methodical. At Edge Academy a quarterly training calendar is created and Competency Mapping / Pre-Assessment (SWOT Analysis) is done. The batch size is restricted to 15 participants for individual attention and course material is provided. Role-play with video shoot and play back and revisits for reinforcement are part of the program. A dedicated trainer will be assigned for the contract period. As SkillBridge is targeted at fresh graduates students, academic institutions for implementing in colleges and corporate to train new hires, could take it. The methodology is four-pronged. The blended learning approach is an optimum blend of classroom-based, online-based and interactive sessions that help the student absorb and apply the lessons learnt. A modular approach is seen as the program is classified and disseminated in a brick-by-brick approach. Assessments test the student’s level of understanding the topic, ruling out rote learning. Practical insights through industry visits and experiences to introduce them to the processes within the industry and to provide a deeper understanding of industry requirements. At The Finishing School, the main differentiating factor is the faculty. “We have a host of other visiting faculty to cover different subjects apart from special faculty for specific modules,” says Kumar. At Dale Carnegie, the Certificate Program in Executive Excellence runs for four months of classroom instruction, followed by two months of internship training with prospective employers, before final placements. The course would also provide for coaching and mentoring, assessments in the areas of cognitive, behavioural and English skills and preparation for interviews, group discussion and placement.
 
And encouragingly, the response to these schools has been tremendous. “We never thought that one could actually generate money over a concept like a Finishing School and are happy to know that more and more people are looking at Personality Evolvement as an investment rather than an expense,” opines Udayakanth. Seconds Kumar, “There is a vast potential for training on finishing skills, as these needs are not being addressed by schools nor colleges and they have not taken it on as a part of their curriculum. Even if they have, it is in the infant stage.” Jha also adds saying that the aim is to strengthen education partnership with schools so that a large audience can be addressed. And as Jim Rohn says “Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”
 
 

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