The importance of engaging industry and conundrum of professionalism.

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When you become an educator, the importance in staying in touch with industry needs is crucial as we move forward. Although we do have great insight to our student needs, as we become more involved in education, sometimes are visions of what the students potential employees require can become skewed.

As a pastry chef, I don’t ever want to lose touch with what the daily grind and push of working in a bakery is like. Building industry relationships not only helps our students, but is also beneficial to the instructor and the employer, collaboration and community are key in aspects of learning. I find as I visit different industry partners, you hear common themes of what they require of our students, and what they need to be successful. It is often the soft skills of respectful communication, attitude, timeliness and reliability that come to the forefront. We do have a professionalism component in our classrooms, it is controversial amongst student and some faculty. It is an assessment that includes attendance, uniform, communication and safety. Many schools would not asses this, but time and time again, this is the most important skills that industry is telling us that they want.

As we move forward we need to develop better practices in our classroom to measure this assessment. Uniform and attendance are straight forward, communication and safety is a little more challenging. Communicating with industry may reveal more ideas that we may not consider in a education institute on how to better measure and teach these behavioral skills.

 

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