Recent research shows that soft skills can have a greater impact on an individual’s employment, earnings, and overall well-being than job-specific technical skills. In fact, employers globally report difficulty filling jobs because new recruits often lack soft skills. According to Child Trends, soft skills include “competencies, behaviors, attitudes and personal qualities that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals.” Researchers, educators and youth development practitioners use varying frameworks to classify the ‘most important’ soft skills. This is demonstrated by the multitude of names often considered synonymous with soft skills, including: non-cognitive, workforce readiness, life, behavioral, and 21st century skills (among others). Examples of the most valuable types of soft skills to youth and adult success are: social skills, communication skills, problem solving, critical thinking, self-control, and positive self-concept.
On Tuesdays, my colleagues and I take a break from assessing health and education challenges to strategize on the soccer field instead. We’re very good at strategizing, but we’re awful at scoring goals. Soccer, of course, is a sport that requires thoughtful strategy, but a game plan is not very useful without clear communication to execute it, the stamina to run across the field toward the goal, or the skills to kick the ball on target. If we’re going to score, win games and fulfill our goal of making the playoffs, we need that whole package.
According to the World Bank Development Report on Digital Dividends (2016), the rapid spread of digital technologies around the world is boosting economic growth and expands opportunities in many instances; but the benefits of technological changes are not evenly distributed to workers globally. For high-skilled workers, technology in most cases complements their skills, increases their productivity, and often leads to higher wages.
Beheshta, a university student in Afghanistan, has an ambitious long-term goal: She wants to join the civil service and become either a minister or member of parliament. As an Afghan woman, achieving this goal will require her to overcome significant challenges, including the expectation that women marry and have children rather than pursue a career, as well as the realities of entering a workforce that is overwhelmingly male (only 15.8 percent of the workforce is women). Beheshta will also face pressures against participating in the wider community outside of her home.
Today, over 66 million youth are without a job globally and nearly 145 million youth are working, yet living in poverty. Launched in 2016, Decent Jobs for Youth has evolved as the global initiative to scale up action and impact on youth employment under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
CONNECT TO THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP SKILLS AND CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE THROUGH POLICY MAKING
At the British Council we are committed to developing future leaders. To prepare for the world ahead of us the next generation of leaders must be skilled, innovative and globally connected people, able to make and respond to change with effective policy making.
The 3-month internship, starting in June 2016, offers you (young people aged 14-24) an opportunity to develop your writing, research and critical thinking skills and allows you to connect with other engaged young people around the world in global dialogue. During the internship, you are supervised by a VOY Community Manager, who will provide tips and tricks on how to write good blog posts. The internship is done by remote participation, which means that interns are not required to travel anywhere.