Experiences of Graduating Students Searching for Employment i ...

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Abstract

In recent years, Trinidad has been experiencing an increased number of engineering and technical graduating students. Because Trinidad’s economy is dependent on the oil and gas industry for its economic stability, the concern is whether the job market can provide employment for the vast number of new engineers and technicians. This phenomenological study explored the experiences of graduating from university and vocational students as they searched for work in Trinidad’s job market. Two focus groups of graduating students from the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and the National Energy Skills Center (NESC) schools participated in the study using semi-structured interviews, audiotaping, and a survey questionnaire. Results of the study indicated that engineering graduates were frustrated with the job opportunities available to them, while the technical or vocational students seemed positive about their future career outlooks. In addition, the research results indicated a need for more diversity in university programs so students would have more career choices. Even though the vocational graduating students were more optimistic about their future careers, they also wanted more career options. Lastly, participants indicated a need for cooperation between the hiring organizations and the universities or training schools in offering more practical training and internship programs.