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Introduction
Employability skills have been defined as a set of achievements, understandings and personal attributes that make individuals more likely to gain employment and to be successful in the chosen occupations (web links for employability skills, Retrieved 28/04/2011). They are those skills necessary for getting, keeping and doing well on a job which includes the skills, attitudes and actions that enable workers to get along with their fellow workers and supervisors to make sound critical decisions. It is the capability of getting and keeping satisfactory work. Office Technology and Management personnel are those employees that utilize technological equipments in the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of the day-to-day functions of the office. An automated office refers to the office that makes use of modern technological equipments in the processing of the day-to-day activities in the office. Therefore, this seminar presentation discusses the critical skills one requires in the workplace as an Office Technology and Management personnel, whether self employed or working for others. These skills includes academic qualifications, personal management skills, attitudes and personality, communication skills, technical skills, innovation skills, job interview skills, interpersonal and human relation skills. Discussions on the need to produce employability skills among students and the concern about students capability to meet the demands needed by employers in

todays working world has been a critical issue facing the worlds educational institutions. All Office Technology and Management careers requires a similar set of basic skills ranging from a solid understanding of mathematical concepts, a high degree in data manipulation and multiple step logic, communication skills and ability to understand a wide range of perspectives is critical as well as detailed orientation and mental focus. It is recommended that areas such as areas such as English communication, human relations, problem solving and decision making skills should be emphasized. (Nulty, 1995). Skills and competencies are two important requirements that trainees need to possess so that they can make a better transition from classroom environment to working environment. Preparedness in employability is an important contributor to the individuals self-interest and general well being. Students need to give greater attention to the developmental areas so that they can be expected to contribute the best for their careers as well as for their personal fulfilment. Brower (1996) stated that students are only successful in their career if a curriculum program involves higher institutions to provide all the necessary competencies the employer wants. Todays business has changed into high technology work place; latest technology, participative environment, sophisticated quality control, good customer services and many others are important. As a result of this, students need to have expanded skills if they want to survive in the work place effectively.

Educating future employees needs to be changed to meet the new needs. It is hoped that with this, we will be able to know the skills employers want their workers to possess. Thus, it will help educators to train students with those skills so that students can meet the demands of their workforce in future. According to a research conducted by the Secretarys Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, more than half of our young people leave school without the knowledge or foundation required to find and hold a good job (SCANS, 199 1).

How to develop employability skills Employers today are looking beyond the basics of technical skills and knowledge. One need to have a little bit extra, not to be taken aback by some of the questions most will ask in interviews. Employers are looking for attitudes that that will make a difference in how one apply the technical skills and knowledge required in the job. They look at attitudes towards work, towards fellow colleagues, towards challenges, towards client, towards on-the-job flexibility including habits and skills. Here are some of those attitudes most employers value: Positive attitude towards work: For employers, this means responding quickly to other demands that pop up unexpectedly. Not only working for the hours of work but, in other activities and working hard when the boss is not around. Positive attitude towards everyonemost especially yourself: This involves building a more positive self image; eradicating bad mental habit and developing a healthy noggin. Practice only seeing the positive in others, seeing opportunities in the situation you are in rather than whining at things you cannot stand about work or

other colleagues. Build up fellow colleagues in front of supervisors. In meetings, encourage efforts of people. Recognize the good things others have done. Take responsibilities for the mistakes or short comings and take the necessary steps to improve your behaviour. Positive attitudes towards learning: this is not just learning the job quickly. You may be a fast learner but, if you think you are much better than others and refuse to learn from them, forget promotion. Seeking help from your colleagues especially when you are new in job, encourages interaction and builds link. Learn how to do tasks and stop drawing lines as to what you are supposed to do, this makes one employable. Willingness to change: Employers always enjoy working with people who jump at a twisted task and are flexible in trying out new things and how they can better perform the task. Try out new ways to improve your processes, testing some innovations in your area of work to get the job interesting. Initiative: Employers value those who get things done without being told and go beyond job expectations. The y appreciate workers who can work without close supervision, responding to daily challenges more proactively and responsi bly. Organization skills: One needs to start and also organize the steps necessary to complete the task. This is where one needs to de velop the skill to follow up, schedule the day so that tasks are done, files are ready for sharing and reports are prepared.

Punctuality: Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defined this as doing something at the agreed time. Most of the time, jobs have clear targets but,

sometimes it is not so. When one takes a task, there is need to clarify with the supervisor the targets and the time lines. Be on schedule, avoid delay and always perform the task before the deadline. Good manners: Employers will always make clear their expectations when they hire employees. At times, though good manners are taken for granted until a situation comes up and surprisingly, there are other expectations, stress, impatience and a chance to really be a jerk, say thank you, greet people in the office, be pleasant and kind, let the office know where they are, dress properly and appropriately. These are unspoken behaviours that mark one as a winner with future not waiting for self destruction. Students in school should utilize their time right to build these employability skills , get involved with school organizations and activities, help out at home, and structure their home work. This way, they will develop skills, attitudes and habits employers value and by the time they are ready for employment, employers will be chasing them. Academic Qualifications Required: Every year, the department of Office Technology and Management (OTM) has been successfully producing graduates that have promising careers in the private as well as public sectors. These graduates can be hired as Executive officers, Administrative officers, Personal Assistants and Office Managers. The Department

undertake programs that trains students on areas related to Office Technology and Management. Office competencies such as; Data Processing, Communication, Personality Development, Public Speaking and Human Rel ations. Besides that, students also enrol on other courses like Mathematics, Law , Accounting and practical training that offers the students a great learning experience. Skills acquired in Office Technology and Management program creates path to other careers in computer, Desktop Publishing, Administration, Human Resources and Management. The OTM Department utilizes alternative delivery method focussing on those courses that has a great impact to the work force. Many courses are offered on full time and part time bases in sessions. The goal is that graduates will be able to organize work areas, use resources, make decisions and exhibit proficiency in the use of office procedures and information system available in an automated office environment. Apply practical knowledge and utilize Technical Skills such as keyboarding, transcription, speech recognition, proof reading, document production, integrated computer application, records management and the use of internet. In an attempt to achieve this goal, the OTM Department tries to equip students with special skills included in the courses below; Keyboarding: This course is designed to develop keyboarding skills and

introductory document formatting. Emphasis is placed on keyboarding techniques and formatting business documents. Upon completion, students should be able to create documents in an ever changing workplace.

Word Processing: This course is designed to introduce word processing concept and application including preparation of a variety of documents and mastery of specialized software functions. Upon completion, students should be able to work effectively in a computerized word processing environment. Secretarial Duties: This course is designed to be a capstone course for office professionals and provides a working knowledge of modern office procedures. Emphasis is placed on scheduling telephone procedures, travel arrangements, events planning, office design and ergonomics. Upon completion, students should be able to adapt in an office environment. Advanced Transcription: This course is designed to provide skills needed to increase speed, improve accuracy and format documents su ch as letters, memo, tables and business report. Upon completion, students should be able to produce documents and key timed writing at speeds commensurate with employability. Typewriting: This course provides experience in typesetting documents and

comprehensive study of editing skills needed in the workplace. Emphasis is placed on appropriate formatting, grammar structure, proof reading, editing and transcription techniques. Upon completion, students should be able to compose materials, edit text and transcribe office documents. Office Administration and Management: This course includes the co-

ordination, planning, organizing, directing and cont rolling day-to-day functions in an office. Topics include communication, records management, filing methods,

creation, maintenance, protection and disposition of records stored in a variety of media forms. Advanced Desktop Publishing: This course is designed to improve the

proficiency in the utilization of software application used in business offices through a hand on approach. Emphasis is placed on in-depth usage of software to create variety of documents. Upon completion, students should be able to master the skills required to design documents that can be customized using the latest software. Research Methods: This course provides working knowledge of internet usage and research for the modern office. Emphasis is made on using related literature, search engine, libraries, dictionaries and encyclopaedia to obtain information on any office topic and employment. Business / Labour Law: this course introduces the complex legal, moral and ethical issues involved in the providing of business services. Emph asis is on legal requirements of business practices and professional liabilities. Data Base Management: this course introduces Data Base Management System used to process information in an automated office. It includes traditional and electronic information resources used for storing and retrieving information. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): This course is designed to improve computer skills using latest software and technologies available. Upon

completion, students should be able to apply it effectively in a computerized organization. Shorthand Writing: This course introduces special transcription techniques.

Emphasis is placed on accurate transcription, proof reading, increasing transcription speed and accuracy. Upon completion, stu dents should be able to transcribe complex business documents, transcripts of voice recording and display competency in transcribing dictated documents in covered specialties.

Personal Management Skills


The personal skills, attitudes and behaviour that drive ones potential for growth and greater possibilities; Demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviours: This could be done by feeling good about yourself and be confident. Deal with people, problems and situations with honesty, integrity and personal et hics. Recognize your own and other peoples good efforts. Take care of your personal health, show interest, initiative and effort. Be Responsible: Set goals and priorities balancing work and personal life. Plan and manage time, money and other resources to achieve goals. Be accountable for your actions and the actions of your group, access, weigh and manage risk. Be socially responsible and contribute to your community. Be Adaptable: Ability to work independently or as part of a team. Carry out multiple tasks or projects. Be innovative and resourceful, identify and suggest alternative ways to achieve goals and get the job done. Be open and respond

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constructively to change, learn from mistakes and accept feedback. Cope with uncertainty. Learn Continuously: Willingness to continuously learn and grow, assess

personal strengths and areas for development. Set your own learning goal. Identify and access learning sources and opportunities. Plan for and achieve your learning goals. Work Safely: Be aware of personal and group health and safety

practices/procedures and act in accordance with them.

Professional Characteristics Qualities

 An employee should be able to work without close supervision and also


meet deadlines at a satisfaction level.

 They should be able to handle changing conditions and work under pressure.  Employees
should also seek assignments voluntarily, demonstrate

punctuality and begin work as scheduled.

 Trainees also need to improve in their willingness to learn and also able to
apply knowledge and skill necessary to accomplish a job.

 There is need to improve the imaginative and talent for new ideas, finding
new and better way of completing task.

 The trainees should understand and apply standard procedures, understand


how the work relates to other works inside and outside the department.

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Communication skills, problem solving and decision making skills needed

 The personnel should know how to apply the skills that they have learnt in
classroom to the work place.

 The personnel should know how to communicate fluently in English both


oral and written, respond promptly to customers/clients request.

 They should only ask questions about tasks when needed and maintain
accuracy in all aspects of work.

 They should be able to identify problems and develop effective solution.  They should be able to set priorities and make decisions quickly and
accurately.

 They must know how to accept responsibilities of both success and failure.  They equally need to manage their time effectively to produce compl ete and
accurate work performed in accordance to job requirements.

 They should be creative, able to recommend innovative and practical


solution.

Technical skills required: Due to the automation of administrative functions, there are tremendous opportunities and career choices for administrative office professionals with technical skills in information management software and office technology. Stitt-Gohdes (1996) stated that demonstrating employability skills and

professionalism through sound work habit, ethics and responsibility, working in individual, team and group settings is required. Ability of one to communicate

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ideas and information verbally and in written form, have computational skills for solving business problems, making analytical judgements, ac quire, organize and evaluate information for making decision and solving problems in business environment.

Innovation Skills: For office management personnel to survive in the current working environment, she/he should always be in tou ch with the latest technologies. Developing software and technologies that constantly upgrade your skill will not only make one more marketable but, it will provide one high salary. Focussing on creativity and continuous improvement skills will help prepare for the challenges and opportunities in the workplace of today and tomorrow (kruk, 1992). it will also provide the resources and information that can make the future work.

Job Interview Skills: This skill includes tests that measure employee s skills, behaviour, attitudes, values and perception relative to job employment, work place or organizational environment (Nulty, 1995). Test of management skills, styles and competencies, leader behaviour, career development, exploration attitudes, job or work related selection, admission and entrance tests. Tests of work adjustment, team or group processes, communication effectiveness, employee attitude,

vocational/occupational interests, employability competency and organizational climates are equally critical.

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Conclusion
In keeping pace with todays electronic technological advancement, we have to change our traditional definition of work style. The most important thing is to keep ahead of the current situation. In order for the Office Technology and Management graduate to survive in this millennium and achieve these competencies for work, instructors need to change the traditional teaching style to keep pace with the latest technologies applicable in office work by improving in their curriculum for learning. Thus, realizing this new challenge, Office Technology and Management personnel through the world are now emphasizing on new concept and stresses on the intrinsic qualities. Workers need to increase their knowledge, skills and attitude in order to improve their work qualities to meet the demand of the current trends in work place.

Recommendations 1. A close attention need to be given to curriculum development that emphasizes school-to-work transition. 2. A study should be conducted to identify the factors that influence learning among the trainees. 3. A further study should also be conducted to identify learning outcome of the trainee from the training and what the outcome are after training. It will help to identify the effectiveness of the training program by measuring learning practices by trainee.

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References

Brower, W. A (1983). Essentials for an up-to-date Secretarial Curriculum: Business Education Forum, 37(9), 14 16 How to develop employability skills Retrieved from http//www.vanguardcommunity.com/business 28/04/2011 Kruk, L. B. (1992). Office 2000: A Glimpse into Tomorrows Workplace: The Balance Sheet, 74(1), 10 14 Managing Workforce Diversity: Tax Executive, Nov/Dec 1997, (pp 493 495). Retrieved28/04/2011from http//xnet.rrc.mb.ca/library/guides2/careers/page_12.htm Mc Nulty, B (1995). Educating Students for the Demands of the Workplace : Business Education Forum, 50(2), 35 37. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English. 7th edition, Oxford university press, 2006. Secretarys Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (1991). Business Education Forum. Stitt-Gohdes, W. L (1996) Business and Industry Need Qualified Workers. In Perrault H. R. (Ed), Wheeler, R. D. Classroom Strategies: The Methodology of Business Education: (pp.1 9) Reston, Virginia: National Business Education Association.

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Hewlett-Packard
INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY (IMT), ENUGU

EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS REQUIRED OF OFFICE TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL IN AN AUTOMATED OFFICE

A SEMINAR PRESENTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF OFFICE TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT (OTM)

BY EZEH BLESSING N. REG. NO. : IMT/OTM/H2009/073

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IN EZE JONES OKEY PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT OF THE COURSE OTM 414: ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS

LECTURER: AGBO T. O.

JUNE, 2011

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ABSTRACT

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Today much has been said about the need to produce employability skills among students including the concern about capability to meet the demands needed by employers in todays working world. The purpose of this seminar is to expound information about the level of employability skills required of an Office Technology and Management personnel in an automated office. It expounds the level of competencies required of the personnel based on the area of academic qualifications, personal management skills, techni cal skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, human relations skills, personality, problem solving/decision making skills. For one to excel in Office Technology and Management career, she/he requires a similar set of basic skills in data manipulation with a solid understanding of mathematical concept using the curriculum program that provides all the necessary competencies that employees want. This presentation also centres on finding out the steps to improve the quality of education so that lectu rers at the department of Office Technology and Management (OTM) can train students to be prepared to make a better transition from what they learn in class to the working world. The demand for experience and knowledge for entry level employment in todays business offices requires educators to structure good learning activities and to understand how to better prepare students to enter the working world. Generally, the number of students graduating every year shows the success of education. However, in real ity, it is not assumed as a success since it does not guarantee students to be successful in working world.

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