English Skills for Employability: How to get ready for the workplace

Every year, millions of people look for new jobs, but it can be challenging to determine what qualifications are necessary for today’s constantly evolving workplace. This is especially true in India, which has a sizable young population who are frequently quite knowledgeable and certified in their specialities. However, despite the fact that employable applicants appear to have the necessary training to get jobs on paper, a skill gap in the workforce was acknowledged by 75% of employers questioned, according to the India Skills Report 2022. What are employers looking for, then?

Skills for employability

To adapt to the constantly shifting corporate environment, recruiters still need a variety of abilities, including those related to technology, problem-solving and creative thinking, language and communication, and soft skills. A UNICEF report outlines the competencies and abilities necessary to equip young people for the job of the twenty-first century. It outlines the kinds of capabilities that employers need to address contemporary issues like technological advancements and cross-cultural communication. ICT and digital abilities, as well as literacy and numeracy skills, continue to be of the utmost significance. Interestingly, the research also emphasises “citizenship skills” as being crucial for future employment, i.e., awareness of regional and global challenges and the ability to act responsibly to address them.

English language proficiency can significantly increase work chances when combined with these abilities, particularly when it comes to intercultural fluency. English continues to have a significant impact on many aspects of our lives and is widely used in both professional and private contexts. As described in ELT learning and evaluation in India, it is consequently seen as having economic and social importance as “a language of opportunity, wealth, and social mobility.” According to the Cambridge English and QS Global Employer Survey, employers in 50% of cases believe that employees with good English abilities advance more quickly through the ranks of employment and get better pay increases (46 per cent of employers). More businesses are expanding internationally due to globalisation, and more students are looking at chances for foreign education, for which English language proficiency has become essential.

The India Skills Report 2022 emphasises the importance of soft skills and English communication abilities as necessary for professional success. The report emphasises that the requirements of a modern workplace go beyond merely speaking English; they also include the capacity to transfer knowledge and impart learning in a collaborative manner. Therefore, communication skills are “invaluable assets” for recruiting organisations in order to meet the problems of the globalised world.

English as a link language

In a country having 22 official languages, like India, the English language likewise appears to have evolved into a link language. To be able to move among many cultures, languages, and professional situations, one needs to have strong communication skills in both their native tongue and in English. English as an employability skill could give you an advantage in a world that is continuously changing and highly connected if you also have knowledge of and fluency in the local languages and technical abilities.

Improve your English language skills

There are several resources available to help one’s English. For instance, there are a number of free internet tools, such as podcasts, online courses, and applications, that support the development of English communication skills. However, it’s crucial to be aware of how strong your English is before deciding what resources to employ to advance your abilities. You can find out by taking a brief placement test that reveals the degree of your skill set. Use the free placement test, for instance, at englishonline.britishcouncil.org. Knowing what level you are at will help you choose the best resources for moving forward.

While using these tools will help you develop your skills, it’s equally critical to own your learning process and put what you have learned into regular practice. Creating practice groups with friends and peers who also want to get better at English is one approach to this. Peer practice will help you build collaboration, problem-solving, and teamwork skills, all of which are highly important in the job. It will also give you opportunities to utilise English in real-world situations. Most importantly, these encounters with your classmates and friends will provide you with the chance to spot your mistakes, practise fixing them, and gain more fluency and assurance in your English communication skills.

Last but not least, these encounters will also assist you in reflecting and becoming conscious of “how” you can learn better, how you have advanced, and what functions for you. The purpose of having this information and awareness is to help you become an independent learner who can continuously advance.

Regardless of how much the workplace advances, language, communication, and soft skills will always be important. Knowledge and fluency in your native language and English are likely to help you succeed at work and give you access to more desirable career opportunities, such as international job opportunities, and international education chances, and ensure you are prepared for industry 4.0.

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