Nepal has a lot of raw talent. I mean its amazing how much talent is out here. I am frequently amazed to meet young people who are hungry, driven and ambitious.
However, that raw talent has to be polished, groomed and mentored. This is going to come with the right platform for the youth and aspiring professionals to display their skills and knowledge. When these individuals get the right opportunity, it can create wonders.
So how can we develop talent locally?
To develop talent locally, it will take effort and commitment from all the stakeholders mainly:
Colleges: Currently most Colleges in Kathmandu are providing just enough or not enough skill development opportunities for their students. These colleges have mostly outdated courses and curriculum and thus need major update. For example, I had to use a book in Marketing Communications class that was eight years old which had only touched on traditional marketing. Content on digital marketing including online and social media marketing was not covered. Students can grasp the content better when we use or reference the tools and resources they are familiar with. Besides the course materials, teaching style of the teachers also needs to be practical, engaging and reflective of industry developments. I have found the use of digital media as one of the most effective ways to grasp the students’ attention and speed up their learning. Colleges should encourage students to do multiple internships before graduation so they get exposure, complement their classroom learning and to have realistic expectations of the job market. My four plus years experience teaching Marketing Communications and Sales Management course at a leading management college in Kathmandu tells me that we are heading in the right direction but there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.
Companies: Currently fast growing companies (such as tech companies) know that the college graduates in Nepal are not as ready for the job market as they would like them to be. Colleges need to invest more in the career development of their students (resume, cover letter and interview sessions) to prepare the students for the job market. Some companies are hiring fresh graduates and giving them adequate resources to quickly build their knowledge and skill. But the demand is much higher than the supply of skilled professionals. This means the companies will have to hire early, groom them properly (pairing them with experienced colleagues, provide a mentor in the workplace) and make them ready through online courses. Companies should also prioritize training and create a team of experienced and dynamic trainers to guide the employees. In terms of scalability of building a talented human resources pipeline, I believe the best approach for now is online training. There are thousands of courses available on platforms like Coursera and Udemy and companies should be able to create a talent pipeline by having their promising employees take the relevant classes. Whether your company wants to increase employees’ B2B sales knowledge or have them learn the data science techniques through case studies, courses are available online from the top entrepreneurs to the leading Colleges and Universities around the world.
Individuals: The best investment an individual can make is to develop his or her knowledge and skills. Individuals should stay updated on their field by watching videos, reading articles/blogs/relevant content online among many other things. There is no shortage of information on the web. A kid growing up in New York City has the same resources online as a kid growing up in Kathmandu. The challenge now is how do you utilize the information available. Additionally, individuals can take up free and paid online courses to stay updated in their field and learn the best practices in the industry. From my experience, successful Nepali professionals are very eager to help out the young generation yet very few individuals take advantage of it. I recommend individuals and young professionals to reach out and ask for help from teachers, professionals, leaders. Best yet, they should find a mentor who can guide them throughout their career.