Extract from a blog post on VDC News
Our education system tends to organise around technical skills – but soft skills deserve equal weight.
The school curriculum is divided into subject streams like mathematics and history. VET teaching teams and departments deliver domain specific skills like technical drawing or hairdressing or accounting. Training packages are designed with technical skills front and centre. Higher education programs are similarly organised.
There’s no doubt technical skills are critical for individual futures and for the industries we serve, from hospitals and superannuation to plumbing and logistics. Yet industry increasingly relies on competence in another domain of skills that goes by various names, including employability skills, soft skills and enterprise skills.
Soft skills are not an optional extra
In May, Deloitte Access Economics released Soft skills for business success (44 pages), a report that usefully identifies soft skills in demand, including critical thinking/problem-solving, creativity, communication, collaboration, curiosity, initiative, persistence/grit, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness. The report underlines how important this suite of skills is, and it identifies the skills gap. For example, the report presents data to show that:
‘Despite being the most commonly listed soft skill, communication skills remain in most short supply, with a 45 percentage point difference between demand (71%) and reported supply (26%).’
The distinction between soft skills and technical skills is important, but the report leaves no doubt that we need both, referring to research by Victoria’s Department of Education and Training which found that
‘… of 5,700 businesses surveyed, nearly one third identified a lack of skills within their businesses now or within the next 12 months. Of these, just under half reported soft skills as a skills shortfall, second only to job specific technical skills.’..(continues)
SOURCE: Blog Post, “The hard facts about soft skills”, VDC News, 27 June 2017
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Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia