THE IMPORTANCE OF SOFT SKILLS
The students acquire technical knowledge, but in general academic programmes forget to put more emphasis in this type of skills.
Volunteering is an excellent example of non-formal learning for young people, where they can learn different examples of soft skills like responsibility, work ethic, empathy, honesty, sociability, self-esteem, cultural awareness, teamwork capability, creativity, critical and structured thinking, communication skills...
What are soft skills?
Soft skills refer to our attitudes and our intuitions, which are less referable to our qualifications and more personality-driven. When we apply for a job, soft skills are the most important when selecting employees.
Also soft skills are the talents that make us know how to communicate correctly, manage a group of people, solve a conflict between colleagues, or know how to motivate and listen to those around us.
What are the most important?
-Communication skills: active listening, non-verbal communication, asking questions, being clear and succinct, clarifying and summarising, being empathetic, praising feedback, developing trust and rapport and being present.
-Creativity: is a major source of ideas when you are ¨thinking outside the box¨. Looking at something in a new way or perceiving patterns that are not obvious.
-Analytical skills: form the base for developing solutions to any kind of problem.
Why are soft skills important?
The opinion on soft skills has changed, they are playing an important role in a shaping a person´ s personality, they complement the hard skills, which are the technical requirements of a job.
Where can soft skills be acquired?
One way is enrolling for a formal training and self-training (e-learning). And the other way of acquiring soft skills we looked at is volunteering, an excellent opportunity of non-formal learning and improving the soft skills for young people.
For more information: Bancino, R., & Zevalkink, C. (2007). Soft skills: The new curriculum for hard-core technical professionals. Techniques: Connecting Education and Careers (J1), 82(5), 20-22.
Carvalho, M. M. D., & Rabechini Junior, R. (2015). Impact of risk management on project performance: the importance of soft skills. International Journal of Production Research, 53(2), 321-340.
Jónsdóttir, I. (2016). Hard or soft skills?: how the Erasmus plus project leaders view the relative importance of skills when it comes to conducting their projects (Doctoral dissertation).
Schulz, B. (2008). The importance of soft skills: Education beyond academic knowledge.
Written by Eurodesk Qualified Multiplier, Ayuntamiento de Burgos