A few tips on what to avoid when building collaboration between VET Provider and employer
Thinking that the employer is there to provide work experience and should be grateful of collaboration is the wrong approach to building a long-term relationship. This is an equal partnership and you should respect the time and effort provided by the employer.
Not doing your homework prior to your first meeting comes across as being unprofessional and uninterested. You should prepare for the meeting, research the company and the sector as well as knowing all about the student requirements.
It is important to be upfront about the intentions and requirements of a work experience or placement. There is nothing worse than an employer not being aware of the requirements down the line and commenting “I was never told this”.
It may be that you have a preconceived idea about the type of collaboration you are seeking, but it is important to be open minded and listen to the needs of all parties. A successful collaboration is about meeting the needs of everyone involved.
A successful collaboration is built on trust and respect. If you say you are going to do something, make sure you follow through. Equally, don’t promise something that you cannot deliver – be realistic, honest and reliable.
Employer’s value their time, long meetings and missed appointments can damage the trust in a relationship. Respect the employer’s time, make the best use of it by being prepared and professional in your delivery.
Employers have their own language and technical terminology in their work place. And so do colleges and VET providers. If you can’t communicate simply without jargon, you will loose each other and the relationship will break down. Where possible use a common language, explain and understand technical language that all can follow.
In the race to secure a collaborative placement, it can be easy to ignore some of the negatives and address them in the future. This can lead to bigger issues further down the line so make sure you address these issues and seek to find solutions from the start.
Using collaboration as addressing your own agenda can be a short-term fix and not building long term success. Ensure you put yourself in other stakeholders’ shoes and seek to collaborate with everyone’s interest at heart. Ensure you use open communication and be prepared to listen to other’s point of view. The best collaborations work on a win-win basis.
Where you have a new or developing collaboration, don’t expect everything to be perfect from the start. You must continue to explain the requirements and maintain regular contact providing support where needed. Start with small steps and build solid bridges for everyone. Ensure you provide regular and positive feedback to build momentum and confidence in everyone.