Developing Students’ “Soft Skills”

Improving student employability & progression opportunities

Soft skills typically link back to students’ behavioural traits and personal characteristics and changing the way young people act and behave is often more challenging than teaching technical skills

In many respects developing students’ effective soft skills which frequently is far more difficult than teaching technical skills. This is especially true when the soft skills link back to behavioural traits and personal characteristics that students have developed

This one-day workshop reviews the soft skills barriers to employment and explores the holistic strategies and approaches that enable students to improve their soft skills

Schools, Colleges and Vocational Learning providers have a duty to help their students develop the soft skills they will need to make an effective transition from education to high quality employment and secure a rewarding career.

Whilst education providers have proven their ability to deliver technical skills; employers still find students’ soft skills wanting. The July 2014 survey by the British Chamber of Commerce reported that 57% of businesses thought young people were not ready for work because they lacked the necessary soft skills. Skills such as communication and team working.

Soft skills are wider than just these two areas. Decision making, commitment, flexibility, time management, leadership. Working under pressure and accepting responsibility are also frequently sought skills.

For Whom

This workshop is designed for teachers, trainers, curriculum managers, vocational tutors, employability tutors and support staff. It may also be of interest and value for those managers responsible for the quality, delivery and/or observation of teaching/training and those involved in IAG

Aims and Objectives

This highly participative and interactive workshop is designed to identify opportunities for promoting ‘soft skills’ in learners seeking employment following training. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss issues and personal experiences of trainees who are failing to secure employment despite having technical skills and knowledge of the vocational area they are studying and will develop realistic strategies for embedding these strategies within the vocational curriculum.

In so doing it enables participants to:

  • Identify the main issues caused to employers by those employees lacking ‘soft skills’.
  • Discuss the nature of ‘soft skills’ and identify opportunities through which to develop skills such as communication, teamwork and time management in learners, in order to improve chances of success in interview situations
  • Be able to adapt teaching practice and resources in ways in which ‘soft skills’ are integrated into vocational training sessions.
  • Promote the benefits of ‘soft skills’ in securing employment for trainees.

Bring with you

To gain maximum benefit from this workshop, participants should bring with them:

  • A wi-fi enabled laptop with mobile internet access – for resource development
  • session plans, resources & course specifications which will be used to promote ideas sharing


The workshop includes:

    1. A look at research, surveys and employer feedback relating their experiences of what ‘soft skills’ are and how a lack of these skills can impede the achievement of trainees in securing post-training employment and inflict a financial cost upon employers.
    1. Active group examination of and reflection upon the curriculum offer in order to identify strategies that will promote the development of ‘soft skills’ in trainees i.e. through the creation of a learning environment which more closely reflects the workplace and which, it is thought, will assist in securing post-training employment in a way which will reflect positively during inspection.
    1. A practical opportunity to plan the development of skills including communication, time-keeping, development of a work ethic etc. This will be achieved through some discussion and reflection within a very practical planning section of this workshop.