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Building Consensus for Soft Skills Training

Posted By Liza Curcio, Aspen Institute, Wednesday, November 29, 2017


By Youth Employment Funders Group

Transferable skills. 21st century skills. Workforce readiness skills. Life skills. Non-cognitive skills. There are many terms used to describe the skills that young people require as they transition into adulthood. The What Works in Soft Skills Development for Youth Employment? A Donors’ Perspective report presents areas of consensus around terminology, implementation and assessment of these skills, and puts forth recommendations to donors, employers, policymakers and implementers.

In the face of growing youth populations around the globe, the challenges regarding employment, and the changing nature of work, young people need to develop skills which allow them to easily adapt to the workforce as well as succeed in all domains of life. This report uses the term ‘soft skills’ to describe the mix of skills, attitudes, behaviours, personal qualities and mindsets that individuals use to be successful across different situations in work and life. These skills include positive self-concept, self-control, communication, social skills, and higher-order thinking (which includes problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making). Research shows that employers are increasingly prioritizing the need for new hires to have soft skills over technical skills, as their ability to work with others, communicate well and solve problems is critical to their success as employees.

The report makes five recommendations for developing soft skills programming at scale for young people. These recommendations highlight the need for greater and quality investments, consensus, and strategic action.

Download the report here.

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