On 18th and 19th May, 2016, the Process Operations Technology, Technical English IV teachers, in cooperation with Student Affairs, organized and administered an assessment called Practice Job Interviews at IMCO. This activity coincided with the Career Guidance Forum initiated by Student Affairs. The purpose of this activity was to provide opportunities for the Year 2 students to improve their employability skills. The activity involved assessors from industry (IMCO alumni and part-time Bachelor students), specifically from ORPIC, PDO, Sohar Aluminium and Oman Gas Company; other colleges and universities – Shinas College of Technology, Musanna College of Technology, Sohar University and College of Applied Sciences as well as IMCO staff.
Prior to the interview, the assessment required students to present their CV and Cover Letter, both of which were developed in class as part of the TENG IV module. Students were assessed based on nine categories of questions for job interviews. The activity included selection of students to be “hired” by organizations represented by the assessors.
Based on the assessors’ feedback, the activity fulfilled the intended learning outcomes geared towards developing students’ employability skills. Dr. L.G. from College of Applied Sciences said that he observed “a considerable amount of improvement in the language and attitude of the students”. The assessors formed the impression that the students took the assessment seriously. Despite the challenging technical questions asked by representatives from industry, the students did their best to answer the questions based on their theoretical background. Students unanimously expressed their appreciation for the opportunities provided to them that enabled them to have a glimpse of what job interviews might be like.
The activity was aimed at helping students develop graduate attributes, as well as improving their generic skills. Although it entailed a lot of preparation, it proved that collaborations between and among industry and academic institutions are beneficial in terms of optimizing student learning. This activity forged a way for IMCO to establish valuable links with industry and academic institutions. In the words of Ali Al-Balushi of Shinas College of Technology, they were pleased to establish this relationship with IMCO and that they are “looking forward to more collaboration.” The management of Musanna College of Technology, as well as authorities in the English and Academic departments of Sohar University expressed the same interest to support such collaborations with IMCO in future.