Health

Volume 11, Issue 2 (February 2019)

ISSN Print: 1949-4998   ISSN Online: 1949-5005

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.82  Citations  

Environmental Health Graduates’ Work Skills Competencies: Perspectives from the Employers and the Graduates

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2019.112016    362 Downloads   554 Views  

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Environmental health is a rapidly evolving field, and professionals working in this field have to deal with increasingly complex environmental and public health concerns. Consequently, their skill development is a key component in ascertaining their abilities to match work requirements to the satisfaction of their employers. Training and education of these professionals requires involvement of the relevant stakeholders to apt their technical skills in preparation of the role to be undertaken. Thus, the universities and other institutions of higher learning, in their efforts to improve graduate output should understand the labor market. Additionally, due to constant transformation and reorganization of strategies and plans by practitioner organizations, employers’ perspective in assessing graduates’ abilities and performance is necessary. Aim: The purpose of this study was to assess the employers’ perspectives on the graduates’ abilities to handle work demands. Methods: A cross sectional descriptive study design involving employers and graduates of environmental health program of Moi University using mixed methods was carried out. Pretested semi structured paper questionnaires were administered to 45 employers, while online survey was carried out on 227 sampled graduates. In-depth interviews were further subjected to the graduates to corroborate issues raised. Quantitative data analysis was done using statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) version 20 where the data was summarized using frequencies and proportions. Qualitative data was thematically analyzed. Results: The overall employer assessment of the graduates’ abilities to handle work demands was satisfactory with 18 (46.1% 7 of the employers rating them as good). On self-assessment, 116 (61.7%) of the graduates reported not to have faced any skills competency challenge at their work place and only 57 (30.3%) reported adequacy in skills acquired during undergraduate training. From the in-depth interviews, the graduates applauded the current curriculum implementation strategy of Problem Based Learning (PBL) but faulted the infrastructural inadequacies for low competencies and inadequate skills. The in-depth interviews further revealed a picture of graduates struggling with skills’ mismatch in their job placement. Conclusion: The study revealed a good rating by employers on the graduates’ competency skills but a high proportion (69.7%) of graduates reported lack of adequate skills to match their work demands. Recommendations: Institutions of higher learning need to invest in infrastructural elements of curriculum implementation to boost more practical sessions for better skills’ acquisition that matches the industrial needs.

Cite this paper

Jepngetich, H. , Japheth, K. , Nyamwange, C. and Baliddawa, J. (2019) Environmental Health Graduates’ Work Skills Competencies: Perspectives from the Employers and the Graduates. Health, 11, 182-194. doi: 10.4236/health.2019.112016.

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