In a fiercely competitive jobs market for young people, having a degree is no longer necessarily the key to a glittering career at least on its own.
Having such a large pool of candidates to choose from, many employers now add typing and Microsoft skills to their selection criteria.
Many graduates consider their abilities in these subjects to be adequate or even excellent yet most have had no formal training in this area since studying ICT at school.
In our experience, some 94% of graduates visiting our training centres cannot touch type while 89% of them have what we would call rudimentary (ie less than good) Microsoft Office skills.
It would therefore be fair to say that many graduates have misunderstood the importance of developing typing and MS Office skills to a strong commercial level in order to make themselves attractive to employers.
Some graduates seem to look down on these elementary office skills yet our own experience has shown those who have taken typing courses and at least a Word course and an Excel course have far greater success in securing clerical work in reputable organisations than their counterparts, even if the roles are only temporary.
I personally believe that having a degree is very important as it develops the student’s intellect and I would encourage everyone who can afford it to study to this level. However I would also urge graduates to go on to develop their workplace skills in order to make them “marketable.”
Another benefit of going to university is that it teaches young people how to look after themselves and the confidence this gives is another factor in increasing their attractiveness to employers.
So how can graduates gauge whether their skills are sufficiently developed to win a position?
First, they need to be honest with themselves about their typing skills. If they aren’t using all their fingers and frequently look at their fingers or the keyboard, they will need to take a typing course in order to be taken seriously by recruitment agencies or potential employers.
And when it comes to Microsoft Office, the easiest check is to visit one of our Pitman Training centres in London or Manchester where we have a number of free tests where we can measure their current skill levels and advise where they need to fill in the gaps.
For example, in Word, we would at least expect them to be able to apply a quick style, create and modify a style, create a new document based on an installed template, understand document themes, change theme colours and fonts, centre vertical alignment, use compatibility mode and delete custom themes.
In Excel we would expect them to be able to apply AVERAGE, MAX and MIN functions, sort columns using ascending and descending order, use the PMT and FV functions, enter formulas into grouped worksheets, recognise errors, use the IFERROR function and use 3D referencing to link worksheet data.
We would expect a similar level of competence with PowerPoint and Outlook, too.
But it’s not just being able to carry out these functions either. It is just as important to have the vocabulary to be able to understand what is required by bosses.
We reckon it takes around 130 hours of typing courses and Microsoft training and practice to get to the required level for employers to take you seriously. Most of our graduate students complete these in 4-6 weeks, depending on how quickly they are able to learn and also how much studying they can stand after 3 years at university!
For most graduates, we recommend either our Microsoft Office Fast Track Diploma with an additional typing course or our Microsoft Office Plus Diploma, as the best value solutions for those who are serious about increasing their employability.
In either case, we cover typing, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access, so graduates will certainly have an armoury of transferrable skills.
Anyone wishing to find out more about how we equip graduates for office work is welcome to visit us for a free consultation with one of our friendly Course Advisors and also to sample our training methodology.
It’s a valuable hour that we are happy to set aside for graduates.
To arrange a visit, just call us:
London Notting Hill – 020 7792 5214
London Holborn – 020 7025 4700
Central Manchester – 0161 923 6814
Our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or contact us through our web site: www.holborntraining.co.uk