Paper long abstract:
Critical to workforce development, industry partnerships with universities have the potential to enhance academic curriculum and instructional strategies, strengthen students' skills and employability, and promote institutional advancement. This paper examines and highlights strategies that universities in Kazakhstan successfully employ to engage in meaningful collaboration with industry, from extracurricular activities to formal internship and employment programs, to advisory boards and councils. The paper addresses institutional and external challenges to partnership efforts, and suggests strategies to mitigate these difficulties.
Drawing on surveys and interviews with universities around Kazakhstan and industry representatives in Almaty, the paper seeks to provide evidence how university and industry collaboration enhances students' employability, while also addressing the skills gap and industry perspectives on training necessary to equip graduates to enter the workforce. The paper draws from current international best practices in university-industry engagement, and highlights the concrete efforts of Kazakhstani universities to employ and sustain successful methods of engagement. In the paper, I argue that a number of universities already represent successful examples of international best practices. I also suggest practical strategies and concrete examples that universities can draw from in their efforts to develop fruitful linkages to industry that increase students' skills and prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow.
Kazakhstani Universities and Workforce Development: Enhancing Employability and Career Opportunities