WHAT universities are after, more than ever today, is to prepare their graduates for the labor market. This raises several considerations, one of which is that students become conversant with the competence required for in and cross-border employment as well. Herewith are basic terminologies on employment qualifications.
These terms are aptitude and ability, skill, capacity, capability and competence. When one seeks admission to a university for a baccalaureate degree, one is usually required to take an “aptitude” test. So, what is meant by aptitude? An aptitude is inborn, which may be physical or mental—a potential to do certain kinds of work whether developed or undeveloped. Outstanding aptitude can be considered “talent.” How does aptitude relate to ability? Aptitude tests considerably measure ability. “Ability is developed knowledge, understanding, learned or acquired skill/s or attitude.” <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aptitude> Abilities are natural or inbuilt. Whether acquired or genetic, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aptitude>ability “is a “proficiency in a specific area of discipline” that enables an individual to perform a particular job or task successfully. It is “the quality or state of being able” such as the ability of the soil to hold water. There is: physical ability (such as psychomotor), mental (such as perceptual), or legal power” (such as what a person can do due his authority from an inheritance, position or profession), or a combination of these, to do a task. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ability/>. In many instances, abilities can also be a combination of both perceptual and motor attributes (psychomotor). It is also important to note that abilities are the underlying attributes that bring out the skills or make up the skills of an individual. Thus, there “is a fine line between skills and abilities.”<https://www.forwardmotioncareers.com/why-your-knowledge-skills-and-abilities-no-l.> However, having an ability does not guarantee that a person will perform well.
Our source explains that skills and abilities are oftentimes used interchangeably by human resources managers because both are “must haves” in any career. In considering movement of employees “for transfers and promotions,” HRM’s determine the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) that employees possess for “their replacement and succession plans.” <graysoncl.com/knowledge-skills-and-abilities/>
What about skills? Skills could be simple as well as complex. Cleaning an electric fan and performing stem cell therapy are skills that vary in their degree of complexity. Skills refer to “proficiency, facility, or dexterity that are acquired or developed through training or experience,” as for example, the great skill with which Albert Andrada designed the coronation gown of Ms Universe. <www.thefreedictionary.com/Skills>
HRM’s will always like to know an applicant’s skills since skills help determine a “specific type of workplace activity.” As our source clarifies, skills give us the “what” — “tell us what types of abilities a person needs to perform a specific activity or job.” <www.hrsg.ca/whats-the-difference-between-skills-and-competencies/>People acquire skills “through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), or things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills).” Summing up, a skill is a demonstration of an ability; it is ability in action of something learned. A skill demonstrates how a person smoothly and adaptively carries out a complex task or function with “pre-determined results” through “deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort.”<www.talentalign.com›ITHRGuruBlog>
There are different types of skills. Cognitive skills are one type. These are conscious mental activities. They “include thinking, reasoning, understanding, learning, and remembering.” Common examples of cognitive skills include learning and “retrieving information from memory, using logic to solve problems, communicating through language, mentally visualizing a concept and focusing attention when distractions are present. Cognitive skills allow a person to absorb and evaluate information through sensory perception and thought processes.” <https://www.reference.com › World View › Social Sciences › Psychology>. Another type is perceptual skills. This type involves interpretation of information. Other types are: motor skills – involve movement; affective behavior skills – refer to mental attitude and developed psychological skills to cope with stress. Psychomotor skills type refers to skills in “executing precise, fluent and effective movement patterns requiring a combination of both perceptual and motor skills.”
Finally, what difference exists among these terms – capacity, capability and competence? Capacity “is the ability that exists at present – to hold, accommodate, or receive as in the capacity of a container or a bottle.” Capability refers to the higher level of ability that an individual can achieve or improve on. A person who is said “to be capable of learning many languages refers to his potential to learn the languages.” Thus, “capability is the sum of the present or existing ability or capacity plus the expertise of the individual to go further.” Competence is the “quality or state of being functionally adequate or having sufficient knowledge, strength and skill – an individual’s knowhow or skill.” By “right competencies,” we really mean the “knowhow” and how well is this knowhow. <http://www.innovationsthatwork.com/images/pdf/June08newsltr.pdf>
So, what abilities and skills would HRM’s require of graduates who would be knocking at their doors for employment? How and what necessary competencies, should universities prepare their students in a changing world? “As national economies become increasingly interdependent, organizations depend upon workers from different cultural backgrounds to work together.” What new ways of thinking, what habits of mind are necessary to prepare students to be successful in the global marketplace? <http://contactpoint.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/pdf-00-16.pdf>.
The author, one of the country’s most accomplished institutional management experts, held top academic positions at Xavier University (the Ateneo de Cagayan) before heading chartered institutions. She attended topmost universities in the Philippines, Germany, Great Britain and Japan. An internationalization consultant on call, she is journal copy editor of, and Graduate Studies professorial lecturer at, the Liceo de Cagayan University. Awards include a Lifetime Professional Achievement from the Commission on Higher Education and recently, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland).