On March 2, 2015, Dr. Stefanie Pillai, Associate Professor of English at the University of Malaya, spoke to AUPP students about English and employability. She emphasized that knowing and using the formal register of the English language will make the students much more competitive in both local and global job markets after they graduate.
Dr. Pillai also discussed the importance of gaining practical work experience while earning an undergraduate degree. Many employers are concerned that while recent university graduates have the necessary education, they often lack real-life work experience. Dr. Pillai encouraged the students to seek out opportunities for internships during their studies in order to build the skill sets that will help them stand out as exceptional candidates in a very tight job market.
Dr. Pillai elaborated on the current job market, explaining that every opening receives hundreds of applications. In such a market, hiring professionals are looking for any reason to eliminate candidates from consideration for employment. She emphasized that becoming proficient in English, cultivating a positive attitude, and developing skills such as leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking are important to future employability.
Dr. Pillai is Chief Editor of the Malaysian Journal of English Language Teaching Research and a member of the Editorial Board of Asia TEFL Journal and the Asian EFL Journal. Her papers have appeared in various professional journals such as Second Language Acquisition, World Englishes, English Today, Language & Communication, and Higher Education.