Someone has asked me an interesting question that I would like to share with all of you as 'mind probe' to trigger our 'art of thinking capability'.
"I am an Accounting student who has passed with flying colours but still uncertain of what to do. I was called for an interview in a construction industry but I am scared that I might not 'make it' to the next level. Someone said to me that I must know the the difference between academic and competency and how to blend them together when I work, Please help"
It was a difficult question but I have answered to it anyway. In principle :
Academic - is a continual learning process - ending up with Certificate, Diploma, Degree and so on. (Authority - Ministry of Education/Ministry of Higher Learning)
Competency - is a staggard learning process - you will have to undergo one level to another. It's also a process 'having experience' before 'experience' and I called it 'learning to work'. (Authority - Ministry of Human Resources)
Both the above require 'accreditation' from the relevant statutory bodies typically on the Modules, Facilitators/Lecturers and Premise where both nature of courses are provided.
Both academic and competency are two core prequisites for fresh graduates but require a little bit of what I call 'customization to the needs of the industry that you are about to be in'.
In one of my lectures in one of the Malaysian local institution of higher learning - on Knowledge Management (Theme : Knowledge Worker), I have said that an Accounting student may not necessarily end up in an Accounting firm. He may also end up in a Construction Industry. Thus, this is where competency comes in where he has to gain some knowledge in advance about construction industry in order to apply his academic-based accounting knowledge.
After graduation, he may have to spend some money (I call it investment) to attend competency-based courses from CIDB, YSP, NIOSH, NPC etc. etc. Not to the level of becoming a Construction Supervisor or Project Manager but to understand the construction industry itself as he has no experience and don't know 'jack' about the construction industry.
He can also mingle round with some of the 'senior/matured 'technical' students' to gain a little bit of data before ascertaining the accounting knowledge that he may have to know before attending an interview with a Contractor (e.g. the COQ - Cost of Quality as a result of defect/repairing cost analysis and how these data contribute to future effective budgetting - project management or How Procurement (of Raw Materials) and a Quantity Surveyor (Bill of Quantities) interface with his accounting capability)
Apart from the abovementioned, I also ask him to refresh his studies on English Language (topics such as report writing and communication) and ICT - (IT application that may apply to him during his work - e.g. a little bit of knowledge of Intranet/Data Mining, ERP/MRP, CRM and how he can contribute his 'tacit data' towards these 'databases' (the main source) in order to have the output for 'explicit knowledge' (after it has been properly 'tapped' by means of QCC tools aided by computer-based analysis)
That's simply IT! Mind you, I didn't get these methods the easy way but I got it from 'hands-on experience', 'learning by heart' and 'continual improvement of my current knowledge and skills'. But for the fresh graduates, think of what I've said...it may prove you useful..one day!
I chuckled when this guy replied to me :
"Is it that difficult??"