Soft skills are the skills that help us navigate our working life; the skills that enable you to do a job well, whatever that job may be.
Whilst the work we do and the situations we face will vary, soft skills can be applied and developed across different settings. Our aim is to ensure that young people have these skills so that they can succeed in both their personal lives and professional careers.
“My confidence, independence and communication skills saw a significant boost as living abroad from my family and closest friends in a house with fourteen other students for two weeks, was challenging. I believe it gave me a taster of what living away from home would be like, and made me more independent and responsible.”
Supporting young people
Our priority is to provide all students with the best opportunity for personal growth, with the right support and reflection. We help young people identify the soft skills they need to develop and find suitable opportunities that will help them enhance their skillset.
International learning opportunities
We’re proud that our international work placements have a significant impact on learners’ soft skills. The experience of living and working in another country is an invaluable learning opportunity for young people, many of whom have not travelled previously.
We’re passionate about sharing ideas and promoting good practice. Working with a consortium of European partners, we’re currently developing tools and resources to support young people to track their progress. As part of the ‘Understanding My Journey’ project, we have led on the creation of a toolkit to enable young people to develop their soft skills. The toolkit allows for self-led reflection and for activities to take place in a supported setting.
You can download the full toolkit in the Resources for Tutors section.
We’ve also contributed to ‘Interpreting soft skills’, a Europe-wide piece of research, which maps different contexts for soft skills development. The report explores models for support, identifies gaps and showcases examples of good practice.
We’re committed to supporting young people to recognise their achievements in developing soft skills development and taking ownership of their own progress.
Our research findings
Sometimes young people and employers are talking about the same thing but they don’t realise! Without a common language, how can young people show what they know?
One word, many different meanings!
Soft skills, Transversal skills, Core skills, Non-technical skills, Transferable skills, Competences, Interpersonal skills, Basic skills Our research alone found seven different ways to describe the same thing! No wonder people are confused!
Why do we need a consistent definition?
‘Soft skills need a standalone clear and concise definition. There must be a consistent understanding of soft skills between young people and stakeholders: too often the different terminology causes confusion and barriers to progression for young people.’
Impact on young people
‘Young people develop soft skills in a range of settings. But much of the focus of soft skills development revolves around the employment experience. This can leave young people feeling as though they are lacking skills and create a deficit approach to soft skills mapping.’
Research to identify soft skills for young people’s personal and professional development /